Race Report... Bruce throws an Election themed Alleycat...

today (Saturday) I met up with  Bruce\Jordon\and DannyK for some frisbee golf...
it was a beautiful morning at Seneca Creek State Park
my dog Didg was there hanging with the pack
it was a close contest.... now my arm really hurts... Bruce Won (again)
good fun

last Saturday Bruce hosted an election themed Alleycat...

the Presidential election had occurred the Tuesday before
this unusual election has had a delay in announcing the results

due to Covid there was a dramatic increase in mail in ballots
which had votes being counted for days following election day
on this Saturday it was announced that Joe Biden had not only won the popular vote... but Biden also scored the 270 votes from the Electoral College to make him the winner of the election and the next president of the United States
270 and still counting...

Go Joe!
Number 46

that announcement came in the early morning...
the Alleycat was scheduled for a 3PM Start
on this day Coast to Coast cities were celebrating the Biden Win
champagne sales were the highest of the year... beyond New Year's Eve!

the celebration on the streets was an added obstacle in the day's Alleycat race


Saturday arrived and the weather was beautiful
unseasonably warm... felt like an Indian Summer day in September

I was excited about the opportunity to meet up with friends and participate in a messenger race
the morning leading up to the race was mellow 
just the standard dog walk in Fort Slocum Park and not much more

the bike did not get more than a glance
in fact... I more than likely did not bother to lube the chain
the bike seemed fine at last Saturday's Alleycat
so... I figured it should be fine now

sure - ok - I may have pinched the tires to test the pressure... but nothing more
do not think the tires even needed air

having spoken to Bruce I knew that the Start and the Finish were not going to be the same place
so... I would not be able to drop my backpack at the Finish and race light
instead I packed up a hydration pack backpack without the bladder and packed some necessities
light weight jacket, blinky lights, pump\tube, multi-tool, and some food\fuel
and extra water bottle

in addition to that I would be riding with a hip pack that I won in a previous Alleycat
the hip pack is not part of my day to day apparel
but it is an essential part of the Alleycat race efficiency
easy access to manifest\phone\glasses\etc.

within the hip pack I also have a DVD case with a rubber band that I use as a clip board
it keeps my manifest in half decent shape and gives me some backing to write on the manifest when need be
a sweat soaked manifest... or a manifest blowing away in the wind... these things need to be avoided... they happen... and they need to be avoided

the start would be Crispus Attucks park... an unusual little park surrounded by the back of the surrounding row houses
it is a nice little spot 
a bit of a secret in the city
this day would a beautiful day to gather in the park... virtually any park

the ride to the start was essentially what would have been half of my commute in life before Covid
in these times due to Covid I am working remotely
no commute... wake up and go from my bed to my home office... home office being my older son's bedroom left vacant by him being off at college

the majority of the world is working remotely

it is an unusual time
an unusual time to say the least

much of the world is on hold
while the rest of the world is trying to exist solely online

the 3PM start was a convenient start time for my lazy day
also... early enough that the race should be concluded before dark

at the park there was the exchange of the hellos and then the usual question
"are you racing?"
some are there to race... others are there to hang out... and then some people will volunteer and work a check point

there was a good showing... but many of the key players were missing
DannyK was there - not dressed to race but instead out walking his dog
and of course Bruce was the host - which would prevent him from racing
then on top of that there were just a good number of people missing
yet there were plenty of racers in attendance just the same

Alleycats just go that way...

Bruce hosted a pre-race meeting
we learned of the TP\BULLSHIT election themed Alleycat
there would be two manifests
this being a Bruce Alleycat - I knew that there would be more Check Points than most Alleycats would have

on Bruce's birthday -  Bruce hosted an Alleycat with 60 Check Points - one stop for each year of his life

Bruce gave a detailed set of instructions that I pretty much forgot as soon as he said them
in short he was reminding people to avoid a certain radius around the White House
as it is known that the celebration at Black Lives Matter Plaza would cause such congestion that it would be difficult to get across town if you were to select a route through that area
instead... Bruce suggested after 1445 New York Check Point that you go back a block and up to K Street instead of trying to brave the crowds on I or H Street

okay... I remembered that
and I heard him talk about riding safe and not taking any unnecessary risks
but other than that I am not sure what he might of said
by that time I was already filled with an excitement 
like a Golden Retrieve waiting for its owner to throw the ball I was waiting for Bruce to say Go

the manifests were handed out
we were told that addresses would be in order as listed on the manifest
not only was the sequence be the most logical way to knock out the manifest
but the people at the check points were going to leave after a certain time

having the manifest in order really simplifies things...
not only am I not a bicycle messenger
I am not a dispatcher
if these were out of order... well.. it could be a very different day
a day that would really favor the racer with a well trained messenger mind

then there was the release...
with out a whistle or the sound of a gun we were sent off
in a heart pumping bit of excitement we were off
everyone grabbed their bikes... threw their legs over the seat.. and started pedaling
I was on the bike and headed the wrong way
not wanting to get bogged down by other racers I went the other way

at first it seemed to make sense to exit the park through a different alley exit... and then it didn't
I immediately turned it around and started chasing all the racers in front of me

not my best start
but it was early in the day
the race would not be decided by my being two or three city blocks behind the other racers
the first Check Point was only a handful of blocks away
my path to get to the first Check Point was way off base... the racers were now more than two or three blocks away!
total brain fart!

I was turned around... I needed to get my bearings straight
I had to get my head right and I needed to get into the game

as said... Crispus Attucks is an oasis in this urban jungle
once on the streets it was chaos
more chaos than usual
the streets were alive 
it was a party... cars were honking their horns... people screaming... people cheering... woman hanging out the sunroof like it is prom night... Joe Biden signs being waved in people's hands in all directions from the sidewalks and from the moving cars

bass pumping loud from the cars stuck in bumper to bumper traffic at some intersections
I was able to weave through the blocked up traffic as if it was a parking lot
always anticipating a door opening or a car taking an aggressive U-Turn to escape the bumper to bumper traffic

it made me laugh to hear Nipsey Hustle's anthem F Donald Trump

F Donald Trump by Nipsey Hussle

it really was crazy... the traffic was unpredictable... I tried to avoid the worst case scenario... I tried to predict the unpredictable an anticipate aggressive and  erratic driving

by the third check point I had caught up to a mass of racers...

racers were leaving the second Florida Avenue Check Point as I was arriving
Steve Hill was there and handing out a "package"
may racers grabbed the piece of Beef Jerky and left off
not realizing that they also had to answer a question... 127... the last three numbers of the license in the window 

Steve voiced shock that there was a question... this gave rise to the notion that many people failed to get this answer... so... although I was behind in the race... I was already ahead on the manifest...  I asked Steve not to tell anyone... Steve told me that Amos and I were the last ones to come through... everyone else was already gone!

on the bike still in chase for the most part I was riding alone
but... at various moments I found myself along side other racers
seeming to move at the same pace
no one was interested in teaming up
no one wanted to create an allegiance

Dave aka Devon Smallwood was riding\racing on a long travel fat tire Enduro mountain bike... he was hammering... we kept arriving at the same time at checkpoints... but he did not want to team up... Dave was focused and wanted to make things happen on his own

now... I am not a road racer
but in the Tour de France the racers work as a team... even if they are not on the same team... especially in a break away or chase scenario
they will draft off each other and help to keep the other's pace up so that the person will alternate and also lead the draft and keep their pace up

the Alleycat can work similarly... not just with the notion of drafting... but in selecting the best route from Check Point to Check Point and also solving the riddles and answering the questions on the manifest

it felt great to get out of the house
not only was the city on fire with its election result celebrations
but also the last bit of fall was in bloom
trees all over the city bright orange, red, and yellow
gingko trees coating the street with golden leaves that look like something from a fairy tale...

but... Danger Will Robinson... those beautiful Gingko leaves are slicker than cat shit... do not ride on them... if you do... do not try to make a sharp turn or brake hard... it is like slipping on a banana peel... which is an actual thing!

then the people...
during the pandemic I am no longer at the office
working from home with its isolation 
getting out and seeing all the people was sensory overload



yoga pants and pretty faces everywhere!
and that was just the guys
no really... it was great to people watch
even if it was at high speed splitting lanes in traffic on my All City Cosmic Stallion 

All City Bikes

it felt good to get out and experience the day
the Alleycat would have me looping the city 
downtown near the monuments and the protests and the celebration
looping around Black Lives Matter Plaza
and even a Check Point at my place of work the Smithsonian

the energy of the day was amazing

in my mind I felt as if a great black cloud had been lifted from above this nation
it was as if there was now a feeling of hope in people's hearts where there was only despair
it was truly a good day
it felt as if we were going to Make America Great Again!

it was fine... I was racing alone
that worked for me

none of the addresses seemed like a mystery
most every address was a Letter or Number Street
sure Bruce told us in the pre-race meeting where Jefferson Street South West was and I still crossed the Mall and went to Madison...
but really... everything on manifest one was an easy to understand address

20 Check Points down and Bruce was at that last Check Point of that manifest handing off another package... a roll of toilet paper and then also the second manifest

again the Check Points were in order
so... while people clustered confused at the mid point
I answered my last question on the first manifest and grabbed the second manifest
then left off the wrong way up 17th Street headed to 1818 14th Street

it was not clear where I was in the race
I could clearly see that I was surrounded a mass of racers
but I did not think to ask Bruce how many people had been through
and how much further ahead where the leading racers

instead I tried to shake the group behind me
no dice rock slice I left out of 14ht Street as the others arrived
they shared the question on the manifest
the other racers transitioned through the check point more smoothly than myself

my trajectory to the Kalorama check point was off
I went up the 16th Street Hill and then down Kalorama
while the address was further down the hill and could have been reached with less effort by taking Florida to Kalorama avoiding the hill expending less energy and arriving there sooner

then... just as I was leaving others were arriving
right in my shadow
a dozen or so riders
swarming chaotically around 

I had chased this group at the tail end of the last manifest
it was a bunch of rookie racers... a number of them high school kids from The School Without Walls...
this group had a tour guide...
veteran messenger\elite racer\messenger company owner Chris Rabadi was leading this pack around the city

Chris was smiling having the time of his life
as I huffed and puffed trying to move my bike as fast as I could
Chris soft pedaled and goofed around... moving at the same rate as me
I felt that I needed to distance myself from this ameboid mass

these riders worked as a team
getting to the location and solving the riddle on the manifest together
again... smooth through the check point
they were moving quickly through the check points

the next address on Connecticut Avenue across the bridge...
the same block as the Marilyn Monroe mural, but on the other side of the street
I huffed and I puffed and I muscled my bicycle there
took the selfie as instructed 
then looked at the manifest to see where the next stop would be

oh man...
not Kilbourne?

I went for my phone...
Google Maps
but then it happened again I was engulfed by a swarm of racers
all sorts of riders were around me
I figured it made more sense to allow them to take me to this next address

it made sense to trust the veteran courier - Chris Rabadi 
I asked Chris if he knew where 2616 Cliffbourne was... he said yes... I asked again...  he rolled his eyes said yes and started off
we all chased behind Rabadi

back towards Adams Morgan
across the bridge... then the second right
there was Cliffbourne Street!

really? I was the host\bouncer one summer on the roof of Perry's just around the corner... I dated a woman who lived two blocks from here... 
how could I not have known this once block street name
I had been on this block hundreds of times on foot\bike\or car!

having borrowed that knowledge from Rabadi I looked to the manifest and took off on own
with the masses in my shadow I took what was a good route to the next 17th Street address
some of that was luck
there was no shaking the group

as I raced to the next check point
I could hear Rabadi talking to the pack of racers around him
like some sort of city tour guide
it cracked me up... I wondered how much he was charging these kids for this service... after all Chris is a businessman 

a few more checkpoints and then the finish

on to Mount Pleasant Street to the Latino Cowboy store El West... 
then North on 14th Street to an address on the same block as Lyman's Tavern
and finally back South on Georgia Avenue for two more stops and then the finish

I had arrived to the final checkpoint... but I could not get confirmation of the address
as it turns out...

that building does not have that address!

it is just logical because it is between the other street numbers

so again... I am stopped.. spending too much time at the check point...

Rabadi rolls through and screams out the manifest answer to the question...
word above www.HUbison.com is 

and then everyone hammered to the finishline
which was just two blocks back up the hill at the park on the other side of the street


we were done.
race completed
race was done
I was done.

other than the mass of cyclists that were in my shadow who finished in front of me
there were a handful of racers who had finished in front of us
then also...
a long list of racers still had to come in

it felt good for the race to be done
it had been a solid effort
my legs were feeling it
slow and steady... hammering in the small ring pretty much the whole time

really... much of the race was so chaotic... the Biden Presidency celebration on the streets had a but of anarchy to it
not only were the cars honking
people stepping out into the street without a glance
sidewalks were not an option... bike lanes were blocked... it was madness..
and possible the cars were speeding around in what looked like all too focused on the cheering to be concerned about the world around them

but it was a tad more dangerous than a standard Saturday afternoon

many people felt as if a big black cloud had been blown from over head
a great weight had been lifted
people felt an emotion of positivity
as if now there was a breath of hope

people felt good and they were displaying it

at the finish there were a number people hanging out who did not race
Brian Clark and Jordon accepted manifests and kept track of the finishing order

there were bottles of Gatorade and cans of PBR
I opted for the Pabst as my recovery drink

the sunset and darkness fell on the day
temperature was starting to drop
and the final racers trickled in
I drank another beer

in the dark under a battery operated lamp Bruce scored the manifests
it would seem that I may not have been the first finisher
but I scored the most points
perhaps I had the most complete manifest

not only did I get all the Selfies.. I got all the deliveries... and
I got all the correct answers or at least the greatest number of correct answer

as it turns out... the racers in front of me did not have that 127 answer from the third stop on the manifest... all the racers were so pre occupied with getting the delivery hand off from Steve Hill that most everyone other than me failed to get answer the question on the manifest... score bonus


I won the Bruce TP\BULLSHIT election themed Alleycat

top finisher won a leather beer koozie made by a kid named Andy who worked as a messenger in DC for a bit... but has since migrated to a few other cities for more messenger work and other cool stuff
he is talented... he also made my wallet
nice score!

in addition to the koozie...
there was a cash pay out of 60 bucks
a sheriff's badge and a cow photo
and of course... bragging rights... in the end the greatest prize is bragging rights 

ah... bragging rights!

a good day
a good time
glad I joined on on this race 
it was a great way to celebrate the Biden Victory
it was a great way to experience the energy of the day!

an article in the NY TIMES about the celebrations in the street

BBC Election Results

Trevor Noah The Daily Show breaks down the election results

Gwadzilla on Instagram