Race Report: 420 Themed Alleycat

ah... the race report
Paul Lagoy - DC Photog
yesterday's pleasure on yesterday's venue for social media - Blogger
nobody blogs any more
nobody reads blogs any more

this is the time of Tweets
in the era of the Tweeting President

yet I blog on
I do not blog not often... yet I still blog
maybe more for myself than for others
yet things are shared here for others just the same

here goes
lets see what comes up when I slam the keys of the keyboard


excuse me...
RACE REPORT: FSmoke Week 420 Themed Alleycat

ah life... life and its responsibilities... life and its opportunities

as the weekend approached I weighed my options
having just finished my week with the kids
I was free to do as I chose on the approaching weekend... some sort of biking would fill my dayligh hours... but what?
mountain biking is always a great lure, but all this rain?
the Alleycat is often another attractive option... ALLEYCAT! HELL CAT YEAH!

there is a window of opportunity
how will I approach it

earlier in the week I felt a hop in the rear wheel of my Trek 2.3 road bike... the contact to the brake that was felt was not so much just the wheel being out of true... but the seam on the rim was contacting the brake pad on each rotation

this wheel is cooked... braking surface is well worn... wheel in a fragile state... that rim is at risk of failing at any moment... DO NOT RIDE THAT WHEEL!

this wheel needs to be replaced...
not safe to commute on
definitely not safe to race on
needed to find another rear 10 speed wheel or an alternate bike option

dang... really need to fix some shit

lots of bikes
all of them broken
nothing to ride

down in the basement I took a quick glance at my two cyclocross bikes

the Jamis Nova has a known bottom bracket issue
not ride-able... needs a new bottom bracket
but what about the Specialized Tri Cross with the flat bars?

I stole a few parts off the Jamis Nova
turned a few wrenches... an allen wrench twist here and there... worked out some stiff links on the chain... maybe I should have just replaced the chain
and BAM!
I had a working bicycle

Wednesday through the rest of the week I rode the Specialized Tri Cross to and from work

Paul is over the Fisheye Lens 
the bike felt good
each day I scratched my head as to why this machine was sitting on the sidelines in an unride-able state
each day I rolled in and out of work on the Specialized Tri Cross with no issue

like most any fool I do not practice what I preach
even with the lessons I try to teach my sons

life would be so much easier if I approached each day prepared
but instead... I wake up and make things happen
solve problems as they come

it can be stressful... being more prepared would offer a calm that my life currently lacks

Saturday morning came...
a mellow Friday night allowed for plenty of sleep... there was time to prep bikes and gear... but that is not how I handled things... figuring the 1 PM start gave me all morning to get ready

I woke up slow in the am
woke up to the sound of rain


the evening prior I had ridden home in a storm
wind... hail... and an onslaught of rain... heavy violent sheets of rain...

Saturday morning was not as intense but just as wet
I made my morning coffee and slowly gathered my gear to race in this 420 themed Alleycat

the glance at the bike did not offer up what I was looking for...
the FSA Gossamer crank arm was loose again
that is problematic... the crank bolt needs to be replaced
I had pulled the crank bolt off the Jamis Nova with matching cranks... but did not swap parts
I tested the original parts on the Specialized... things had held up all week
but at a closer examination... that arm was loose again
so... I tightened things up... same old bolt and then crossed my fingers
it it lasted three days of riding... it should last one race

then I took a glance at the weather and took a measure of my day
the things I NEED to do
things that I SHOULD be doing
the notion of racing in the rain did not appeal to me
the hourly forecast called for rain... the doppler was a big green mass of rain

so... I sent a text message to race organizer Brian Clark aka Biggs

Brian was on the same page... Re-Schedule was his plan
Brian posted on Facebook and Instagram that the race would happen same time on Sunday


that freed me up to handle some adult responsibilities

Saturday was productive... the house got cleaned... well some of it... laundry was done... well some of it... and I scored some cool shit at the Estate Sales all to be topped off with a cherry on top... date night

then came Sunday morning... still not race ready
again I woke up slow out of the gate... again
coffee pulled me through the morning haze

repeating the routine of the day prior I glanced at the bike...
selected some gear for a rain-free race on Sunday
left out of the door in Manor Park with the plan to arrive at P Street Beach by 1:15

when I arrived at the P Street Beach I was a little bummed about how few people were in attendance... a handful at best

it was a good collection of DC' Finest
while also missing a few of the heavy hitters

Where was Bruce?
Hmmm... I feared that Bruce may have showed up the day prior in the rain... being that Bruce is not computer savoy he would have missed the rain data announcements on Facebook and Instagram

then Where was Coach aka Cargo Mike aka Mike Pearce?
oh yes...  father hood... the new father had other responsibilities and usually only comes out of retirement for the larger events and the same would go for AZ as well... AZ is the master of the Alleycat... but tends only to attend the more major events

as time passed people started rolling in...

the usual suspects of the day were in attendance
some of the Chocolate City Cycling regulars
Brian would not be racing... but John Shack and Cassidy would fill in for him
then DannyK  would be representing DannyK and Associates

those six legs alone would offer up some strong competition
throw in Salim Riley and a few others and we have a real race with some serious competition!

in messenger terms the race was pretty much close to starting on time

no worries
people were content catching up and tossing the frisbee and the race organizers ironed out the kinks then there was also another issue.. my crank arm was loose again


I now know why this bike is on the sidelines
there was definitely a reason why this bike was not sitting in the quiver ready to be pulled out and sent into flight
so... I tightened things up and crossed my fingers
thinking... I would race it until the arm fell off and then go home

at roughly 15 minutes after the hour Brian Clark gave a pre-race meeting
in a very pro way he mentioned and thanked all of the sponsors

Brian may have even gave some advice about safety
when asked about needing a lock he told the inquisitive racer that he was not going to tell them how to live their life
all funny stuff

the racers staged and then were given a manifest

in each manifest there was some tobacco and a rolling paper
each racer had to roll a joint and hand it off to Brian to start the race
to be honest... this was my first attempt at rolling a joint... it may not have been as

cylindrical as some of the others product... but I passed it off and started rolling

the race format was a series of ROUND TRIPS
each racer would roll the dice... the number on the dice was associated with one of six Check Points

each racer would do all the check points... so order did not matter
each racer would race the same distance... only in a different order
this would effect some racer's strategy... less ripping off another racer's line this way

at "base" Brian would be giving racers a challenge before they left
10 Push Ups

Either Slam a beer or run up and down the stairs
1 minute of Hacky Sack

and then a few other similar such tasks

the luck of the dice had me leave off for the first Check Point with DannyK
Danny may be a little faster and a little more fit
but he seemed like he could be a good person to chase\team up with for the day
that said... it would prove unlikely that we would roll the same roll for the second check point... then the third and so on

so I let him leave the first check point alone as I pulled out my camera to get a shot of Salim
or maybe that was the second check point... 
it is all already a blur
it is already a very jumbled memory

either way the race had begun
we were in race mode
no allegiances to be made
every man or woman for themselves

the 420 theme was all over the place...
all in Northwest DC... but all over the place just the same

a Selfie at 420 7th Street
a signature from the man behind the counter at Capital Vap Supply at 10th and U
then a series of stickers at various locations... we had to find those stickers and write down the 420 related word inscribed on the USPS sticker
then another selfie at Capital Hempand then another selfie across the street from the 930

then pick up some junk food for the MUNCHIES at Five Below in Columbia Heights

Each being a round trip... each demanding heading back to the P Street Beach before hitting the next stop

the Five Below Round Trip was my last of six jobs on this manifest... when leaving out for this Columbia Heights destination I was informed that there would be a second manifest... A SECOND MANIFEST!  ah Brian... you are trickier than I anticipated

at Five Below I lost time to a long line and slow service... others had grabbed stuff for a buck and thrown the money at the woman at the register...
but not quite
I was not so lucky... more time lost
I feared that not having a Five Below bag or receipt would leave me without proof of that destination

I returned and passed off my junk food for the munchies... trading for the second manifest

the second manifest had another six or so stops... but not round trips
and not in any order
Brian recommended the 21st and H destination as my first stop
I listened to his recommendation, but ended up going to 1200 New Hampshire first

I felt like I was somewhat competitive
assuming that the things holding me up were holding everyone else up

I was hustling... not FIXED GEAR AND FURIOUS but moving like a diesel... steady and strong

at 21st and H there was confusion... not just my confusion in looking for the USPS sticker

but some other commotion
there was a protest going on... and some action on top of that
a woman with her dog was calling my name... she looked vaguely familiar... but I was not sure if I recognized her

Oh Tina! I remember her... ya younger her... Tina gave me a fat lip when she punched me a Cagney's 20 some years ago... I remember that Tina
then Lacy... Lacy McCauley...  what is going on here?
what is all the commotion?

as I looked for the USPS sticker Tina was talking about how my friend had been arrested
arrested? who? my friend? who are you again?

"the kid with the neck tattoos!"
oh... SYD!

thanks tina.. yes... that is my friend...
so I walked over to the police cruiser only to find Syd in the back seat with handcuffs on.. apparently there was some altercation with a Nazi
the man claims Syd hit him... others say that Syd was trying to stop him from filming him and tried to knock his phone out of his hand
either way... a tough moment

I asked him if I should call anyone...
Syd was mellow and told me not to worry
so... I re-entered the race.. again slowed down... this time for good reason
this time I was slowed down in a way that did not effect the others

video of altercation from the perspective of a Nazi

more details about the arrest on YOUTUBE

back on the bike
back in the race

at the next check point I texted Brian about the Syd situation

here is where things get EXTRA F_ed Up!

two of the check point questions got mixed up...
the sticker was in the alley by Urban Stems... when it was listed as being by Sunrise Diner which is not visible from the street.. shades drawn
the yellow caution sign was not at Urban Stems Alley... but on the door to the unmarked

Sunrise Diner


Oh Man!
not cool... walked around like a fool for tool long looking for that shit

then up to Glen's market... and well... another WRONG ADDRESS!
WRONG ADDRESS? Can we bill the client? 

Glen's Market is 2001 S street... manifest sent us to 2001 R
right at the corner where Alice Swanson was run down by a garbage truck on her bicycle a few years back

after all the confusion I finished the second manifest
the heavy hitters were done
a few people had opted out of the second manifest ending their race after the first manifest
I was done... the race was done...
I was DFL... but not far behind the leaders

these shots by Paul Lagoy

the podium
then... everyone else
Great Race!

thanks Brian Clark for hosting
there were some glitches
but all in all a good time
yes - a good time shared by all

hopefully Syd sorts things out
hope it is nothing more than a fine and some community service

my Fisheye shot
Paul Lagoy's shot of the same moment

and of course
goto the Gwadzilla Facebook Page to see ALL THE PHOTOS

thanks Brian!
thanks to all the sponsors
I wish I had the list 
if I did... I would thank them here


We Appreciate You!

Strava Map of the Ride to the Event and then the Alleycat itself