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)
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...
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
RACE REPORT: TP/BULLSHIT ALLEYCAT
Saturday arrived and the weather was beautiful
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
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
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
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
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!
All City Bikes
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!
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
WHERE THE FUCK IS CLIFFBOURNE!?!?!
there was Cliffbourne Street!
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
I was done.
people stepping out into the street without a glance
sidewalks were not an option... bike lanes were blocked... it was madness..
but it was a tad more dangerous than a standard Saturday afternoon
I drank another beer
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