6.02.2016

Race Report: Andy Zalan's Dead President's Alleycat!

it is all a blur... a total blur

it is always this way... within 24 hours of the event is the best time to try and script a race report... several days have passed since the event finish... not helpful to the creative process

a thousand distinct details blend into one simple memory over the course of a few days
if the legs are still sore some of the memories should be accessible
my memories have faded along with the soreness in my legs

let me start typing and see what surfaces
maybe the images will aid in bringing details to surface
maybe not

RACE REPORTS on the GWADZILLA Page



what is an alleycat?
GTS: Google that Shit
or chase this link on the Gwadzilla Blog
I bet I explained it or tried to define it previously

Alleycat on the Gwadzilla Page


Dead President's Alleycat an AZ Production
DC Leg of the Triple Crown

although I am not a messenger... the current vibe at the messenger races these days is that this is an urban race open to all... race at your own risk... be smart... be safe... don't be a dick... the more the merrier... blah blah blah

so... Alleycats aka Bicycle Messenger Races have become a part of my cycling routine
when life allows... I participate in these events

this weekend I had no conflicts with the race schedule
saw the window of opportunity and I took it
so... Sunday afternoon suited up and rolled down to Dupont Circle to join in on the DC leg of the Triple Crown


it amuses me... a culture that prides itself of "delivering things on-time" almost always start their messenger races late

so... when the race time was set for 3
I had a feeling that there was no urgency for arriving at 2

sure enough I was proven correct



Sunday morning Memorial Day Weekend started slowly
there was some consideration of mowing the lawn
but instead I lazily putzed around the house
trying to clean up... trying to do laundry... not really doing anything
not looking at the bike
not prepping things for the race

I felt that the camera battery had a good enough charge and guessed that there was still room on the SD Card
it seemed as if the bike I would race would not need anything more than air in front and a little lube on the chain
I packed my bag with a change of clothes with the intention of dropping stuff at the location of the after party
then was pretty much ready


rolling out of the house and arriving in the park around 2:30ish
not allowing enough time to drop my clothing at Solly's Tavern so I would be comfortable at the after party
instead I would be racing with excess weight on my back in my already overstuffed backpack

the weather was beautiful
there had been a call for a rainy weekend
but it was not the way things were playing out
Memorial Day Weekend in DC was proving to be glorious all around

when I arrived in the park I threw down my bike and jumped into a game of frisbee with Bruce and a few others

ah... feels good to flip a disc
need to flip a disc more often
so much better than slipping a disc
which is funny... because throwing a frisbee is good for loosening up your back

after some frisbee there was mixing and mingling in between snapping some photos
lots of people in the park looking to race
a good number of people from out of town

as I socialized I tried to size up the race competition

Morgan was up from Richmond
there were a few people from Baltimore
then even a few people from New York
including messenger legend Austin Horse

dang... looking like some stiff competition

but who would be the wheels to chase...
no Sean O' Donnell?
no Mike "Coach" Pearce?
no Chris Rahbadi?

Where is Kate Schrock?
and AZ? What about Andy Zalan?
no Andy Zalan was hosting the event and not racing


the list of heavy hitters not present was long
rather than focus on who was not there... I looked to get a feel for who was there and who was racing

hmmm... Bruce seemed to be the horse to bet on for this leg of the Triple Crown
sure there was Danny K and Kevin Hayes of Crosshairs
then also the Chocolate City Crew

but I feel my engine matches better with Bruce's than these young bucks with their fresh legs

in talking with others it seemed that a cluster of people would be trying to fit into Bruce's shadow




time passed and people were getting ancy
then it happened

Andy Zalan hosted a pre-race meeting
there would be six check points including the finish
the first five check points would have a skill challenge then also two bonus check points

it was clear that it would all have to be completed to be competitive
I had the hopes of being competitive

after my frisbee tossing with Bruce there was talk of a few of us working together
it is tough to form allegiances before the race start
Chris aka THC offered to team up as well
Morgan was on this would be could be train

who else?
I thought it made more sense to get moving on the bike and see how it all unfolds rather than making promises on something that may or may not happen


after the pre-race meeting there was the hand off of the manifests and the release
it was chaos... hands grabbing manifests... racers grabbing bikes...
a flurry of activity

the dormant bodies became active

BRUCE WAS GONE!

saw Bruce hammering down New Hampshire Avenue nearly a block away before I was even at my bike

behind Bruce was a long list of people
they were headed to Georgetown... or maybe the Kennedy Center
I had thought Vermont would have been the best first stop
but... my desire to chase Bruce had me going elsewhere

I was already confused... having thought 1110 Vermont as my first stop did not have me thinking Thomas Jefferson or Kennedy Center at all
so I chased... brain shut off and I chased
not knowing exactly where I was going
not feeling comfortable to try and read the manifest as I split lanes in traffic watching our for cars and other cyclists


it was just as I feared
a swarm of cyclists
all fighting for the same line
it was chaos... complete chaos

coming out of Washington Circle headed towards Whitehurst Freeway and the ramp to K Street in Georgetown I heard a crash and a crunch
a glance in that direction and I could see that the rider was up
pretty confident about what had happened and who was in the wrong

no need for me to stop... no need for me to play doctor... GW Hospital  is right there...
no need to offer mechanical assistance... the racer involved in the "incident" is a solid mechanic and I am not skilled with auto body work
really... I was more concerned about damage to the car and liability

figured that rider wanted to distance themselves from that car
and I wanted to distance myself from both of them
it seemed as if the cyclist may have been to blame
it was not my battle


my heart was beating fast
the race had just begun and I could already feel the heat of the day
before the race start I had tried to hydrate
yet my body was already craving more fluid

into Georgetown on K Street under Whitehurst Freeway I was in the shadow of long time messenger DannyK
DannyK was trying to solve the riddle from the manifest... he pedaled past Thomas Jefferson thinking that the check point would be the aqueduct just past Key Bridge
a few blocks past Thomas Jefferson Street  I shout out to Danny...

"there is a bridge on TJ... the streets cross over the C&O canal!"


we looped back
all trying to avoid colliding with cars
all trying to avoid colliding with each other
I thought that my chiming in might be the start of a bond between Danny and myself... WRONG!

when we arrived at the Check Point it was madness
a cluster of racers were already leaving the check point as we arrived

I felt as if I was losing time


not realizing the importance of the hacky-sack challenge I kicked the small knit sack around for 3 bounces... all in a rush to keep moving... should have gone for more... imagine... had I been able to hack for an hour I could have scored enough points to win the race without the bike!

alas no...

3 hacks would be all that I would earn
in reality... 3 was fine.. sure I could have scored more... but I also could have scored less
then also... I have never been able to hack the sack for an hour


on the bike and on the way to the Kennedy Center
but what side of the Kennedy Center
I turned to Bang to check his manifest for the both of us to confirm that we were going to the right side of the large white building on the edge of the Potomac River


on the road rather than the bike path we hustled
the bike path was clustered with an assortment of fair weather cyclists\runners\walkers\etc.
at the Kennedy Center I complete the Egg Carry and then Sing a Song to Birthday Girl April!

POINTS? Am I getting Points for this...

Did AZ give me points for the birthday song?


each check point handed bonus destinations
I did not even glance a the bonus locations
I was focused on the main check points... as these locations would close early


from Kennedy Center I pushed things to Gravely Point
once gain I found myself riding with Bang
on the bikes headed to the Virginia side of the Potomac to the check point by the airport


Band and I rode together for a minute... but never formed an allegiance...

at Gravely Point I scored the bonus points with the U-LOCK toss and felt like I was moving pretty good
the Bruce posse was just ahead of me... leaving Gravely Point seconds before me... I tried to chase them... but could not catch them
this had me thinking I best hammer on my own


back across the bridge in front of the Jefferson Memorial I took a quick break under a tree to see what the bonus locations were... afraid that there could be something back on the Virginia side... or maybe even something at Hains Point
I tried to make sure that I did not over shoot anything

back on the bike I pointed toward the next Check Point... 645 New Jersey NW


it is important to realize that this race is not on a closed course
the race route is determined by each individual racer
the manifest dictates the destination
the order of the destinations or the route to each destination can vary for each racer

the roads are open to traffic
sidewalks and crosswalks are clustered with pedestrians
being a Holiday weekend there were more variables
more tourists and more motorcycles

more motorcycles?
yes... our race corresponded with the gathering of Rolling Thunder
MOTORCYCLES WERE EVERYWHERE!

a block behind me was DannyK and Austin Horse
I waved them to catch up... they did not seem to care... they had their own agenda


I turned onto Maine Avenue grumpy that I had not used the Francis Case Memorial Bridge
years prior long time messenger Kevin Keiffer hipped me to the Francis Case Memorial Bridge... it is a nice little shortcut

Austin and Danny did not go the same way as me
my bet... they went to 1300 Penn instead of the next check point


I hustled forward
trying to ride smart and efficient
trying to anticipate the actions of the cars around me
always working to avoid the point of intersection
trying to stand clear of the worst case scenario

at the next check point there was a game of dice

I WON!

I was on a roll... this time LITERALLY!
I felt I was moving fast and efficient
scoring good points and having a good chance of being competitive


little did I know the wheels would soon fall off the bus

there were two Hill stops on the bonus check points
a memorial at 150 Washington ST at the base of the hill
then a memorial on the back of the RNC building in NE

a combination of lack of oxygen to the brain... riding alone... not having my reading glasses on... sweat soaked gloves... ADD and Dyslexia had me answer a few questions wrong

BAD MOVE!
BAD BAD MOVE... ALL THAT PEDALING FOR NOTHING!


that would not reveal itself to the end
a bit of a spoiler
but what can I say
I am typing what I can remember


off the hill and then the final check point on Vermont
oh shit... I need to go to Ford's Theater and 1300 Penn?

WHO IS DISPATCHING HERE!


I am riding around like a chicken without a head!

but my guess... others are moving about the city in a fashion just as jumbled

at Vermont I balance the dice... Damien tells me I had the best balancing for the day... but no extra points for style


number of endowments... cornerstone... then north
leaving two more NW addresses for later... Washington Ciricle and Jefferson Place would have to wait

at the Kennedy Rec Center dyslexia had me scribble 1825 instead of 1853

more points lost
OH MAN! OH OH MAN!
CLERICAL ERRORS!
WHY! 


somewhere about half way through my race it started to rain
the rain itself was not so bad
in fact there were aspect of the rain that were nice
it cooled things down... I was not as much in need of something to drink which was good... since my water bottle was pretty much dry

as I pedaled I enjoyed the taste of the summer rain on my upper lip
but the rain was not all positive

the water on my rims combined with the lack of visibility on the car windshields made for a dangerous affair

the wet rims made for increased stopping distance
I had a few near misses that would have played out differently under dry conditions

from the action "in the hole" I headed up town

Kennedy Rec Center
Lincoln Theater and then Kennedy Street


I had more near misses than I care to admit
U-Turning Cars being the most dangerous enemy around me
car drivers rarely see the cyclist
I try to move through the city like a ghost


avoiding them because it is more than likely they do not see me

up the 13th Street towards Kennedy Street I was still riding alone
I did not want to take the steep 13th Street Hill... but I was at its base
going one block over in either direction seemed like extra work just to avoid a hill
so I manually shifted into the small chain ring in the front with my right foot
then spun my way north


I curious where I was in the scheme of things
it is not like a race on a course where you have an understanding of who you have passed and who has passed you
there is no real knowing your finishing spot until after the points are tallied

sure... there is the order of finishing
but some people may not have gone to all the check points before the finish
while there may have been others like me who went to check points but messed up the Q&A

the ride to Kennedy Street was a long painful hammer fest
it was a relief to arrive there

I asked a man on the stoop if he had seen other cyclists here... he said no... that had me feeling good about my positon in the race
on my way down the hill from 1365 Kennedy I saw a long list of people traveling north
Danny K... Lindsay... all sorts of racers headed up hill!
this did not help my sensation of my potential finishing spot


I knew I had the northwest stops... but felt that the down hill back downtown would allow me to bisect the city without any extra effort


saw John Dinn on Jefferson Place...
we exchanged hellos but not much more
1 Washington Circle had BLUE FOUNTAIN LIGHTS...
wish I had stopped by there after Georgetown

I must admit... when I was at Ford's theater I did try to use my iPhone to see a photo of the fountain at 1 Washington Circle... but with no success
more comfort with Google Street View or another similar application and I would have certainly been able to see that fountain without going there
but that is my native race format

back across town one last time
on U Street I saw people still getting the info off the t-Shirt at the Lincoln Theater right next door to Ben's Chili Bowl 
been there... done that...
I was on my way to Solly's


at Solly's I struggled to find a to lock my bike...
as I locked up a block away a dozen people entered the bar before me

but really... finishing order was secondary to how many points you scored

as it would turn out...
I would lose 30 points for those three incorrect answers on the bonus check points
leaving me at 373


DANG... give me that 30 points and I would have scored 403
and guess what... 

John Shack and Austin Horse scored 403
THE LEADERS TIED WITH 403!

alas no...

I would not stand along side the leaders
I would be a mid pack finisher
all because of some sloppy clerical mistakes

that said... boasting about my race would be like an Winter Olympic Bi athlete boasting about their ski time while they missed all the targets with the riffle 
getting the targets is part of the race
same here...
getting the CORRECT answer... not just going to the location is part of the race

I dropped the ball in a sport that does not involve a ball

this is not the first time where manifest flaws cost me points

in the end John Shack rolled in before Austin Horse
sure they scored the same...
but Shacks faster finishing time gave him the top spot on the podium

GOOD JOB SHACK!
Way to Represent!

DC Wins DC!

Great Time!
Fantastic Day!

time well spent

more photos on the Gwadzilla Facebook Page 
https://www.facebook.com/GWADZILLA


great day on the bike
had a blast
drank way too much whiskey with Solly of Solly's Tavern
Solly was a messenger decades ago... I know him from those days

we had fun catching up

yes I had fun even if Sunday Night destroyed my Monday Day!

thanks all that took the time to throw this race together
thanks to the volunteers
thanks to the sponsors
and 
thanks to those that raced




1 comment:

Scooter Libby said...

Thanks for this. Miss you guys. Let me know when you're in/around Baltimore!