RACE REPORT: The Dead City Alleycat 2022- Deliver or Die
the perspective of the race promoter
Dead City Alleycat
Saturday November 5th
Dupont Circle Start
to make mention of this year's Dead City there may need to be mention of some other events...
in August when I threw my cycling cap into the ring I was thinking I would throw The Dead City Alleycat on the Saturday just days before Halloween... the Dead City is a Halloween themed bicycle messenger race... so... that would be the date to host such an event. Only one problem... The WORLDS are happening on that weekend... so... my date got bumped... The CMWC, the Cycle Messenger World Championships, were set to happen in NYC that Halloween weekend... so... out of respect I could not host an Alleycat that weekend... sort of like a few NFL teams hosting a football game the same time as the Super Bowl... it just can not happen.
This had me working with DannyK who is sort of the guy at the top of the DCBMA.... DC Bicycle Messenger Association. Then also... I was communicating with Bruce (Bruce the Legend) as well... as Bruce had talked about hosting an Alleycat prior to the Dead City... now with the Dead City getting BUMPED I had to take a measure of other events happening at the same time. Then another wrench got thrown into the machine. John Shack aka Bobby who relocated to NYC contacted DannyK to say that he would be hosting a pre-race weekend and then a ride to NYC via DC to Baltimore to Philly to NYC. This pre-race weekend would involve an Alleycat hosted by another NYC transplant from DC, Edwardo.
Electronic discussions when back and forth... emails... phone calls... and text messages. With some juggling... I got bumped again. Bruce and I had thoughts of doing Saturday - Sunday Alleycats... but now with the word that NYC would be hosting a pre race party and we could fit into the weekend, but Edwardo would be hosting a Sunday Alleycat... well... that bumped me again... Bruce would be throwing a Saturday Day Alleycat... Edwardo would be hosting a Sunday Day Alleycat... which left me with Friday After Work... which was cool... but I did not feel that I could host the Dead City with my need for volunteers and the want for miles as a post work Alleycat... nope... I decided I would go ahead and host TWO ALLEYCATS - The Dead City Alleycat and then also this After Work Alleycat.
This got a little confusing... so... instead of planning one alleycat... I was then planning two Alleycats...
which means... not only reaching out for sponsors for one event... but for two.... manifests not for one event but for two... end points and such for... you got it... not for one event but for two!
there was a great deal of build up about this pre-race weekend...
there was an Event Page and there was Registration... but there was little to no communication... only fingers pointed directing me to the links with the details of the events. The weekend of events was somewhat fragmented. It turned out that Bruce and I would throw Alleycats... but Edwardo would not. It is not clear to me if there was a "fish fry" or any of the other events... but I do know that I hosted a Friday Night After Work Alleycat and then raced in Bruce's confusing yet fun Saturday Alleycat... then returning to work on Sunday not missing an Alleycat that did not happen that I more than likely would not have been able to attend\race.
A few thoughts on the AFTER WORK ALLEYCAT
Mini Race Report
quick and to the chase...
the After Work Alleycat had a bunch of things that people might do after work...
Music Venue, Barber Shop, Theaters, Liquor Stores, Chinese Carryout, and statues... Instead of one address... there were sometimes choices or as in the case of the pick ups at Starbucks and Fed Ex... they could go to ANY LOCATION...
the core of the race was decided by which music venue the racers went to... RFK or the stage at FORT RENO?
the race was well received and well attended...
the NYC Pre Event was not as much of a draw as I had expected... but there were a handful of OUT OF TOWN racers that really added to the energy...
we started at Logan Circle with The Neptune Room as the end point...
the majority of the racers went to RFK... shocker
Bruce, who won the race, went to Fort Reno!
it was a good time... Art at The Neptune Room was super cool... we had all sorts of cool prizes... I poached some Dead City prizes and then used a mess of stuff from races past to really UP THE FUN FACTOR with prizes... not sure if that was actually appreciated... after the results the racers scattered like roaches when the lights come on...
so... I planned two races simultaneously which had me not really planning any ONE race at all... as it was really just a jumbled set of ideas... but having The After Work Alleycat behind me would allow me to focus on The Dead City Alleycat...
there was time... two weeks time between Alleycats... and really... most everything is ignored until pressed against a deadline... so... really... I was onetime... in fact... I may very well have been ahead of the game... as I had preloaded most everything... knowing I would need volunteers and support... I reached out to sponsors, volunteers, and support several months in advance... with the After Work Alleycat behind me I started to restore contact with these people about The Dead City Alleycat.
organizing an Alleycat can be so much more difficult when trying to manage checkpoints that need volunteers... not only is it difficult to manage volunteers... but also supportive sponsors can have their glitches as well... a number of potential sponsors had the issue of not being open during race time... coffee shops and bike shops close at 6 and other places were not going to be open in time for the race... there was some juggling... some sponsors would be dropped while other sponsors would adapt
WOW... LOOK AT THAT LIST OF SPONSORS!
I will devote more time to sponsors later
the manifest was developing... the packages were dropping in at the door each afternoon...
with the race date approaching I worked on the manifest
taking things away
taking more things away
there would be several checkpoints that would need volunteers
I like to have little RACES within the RACE!
these races would need volunteers to run these short little races
I had my list of volunteers
but as per usual
the first people to raise their hand to volunteer would also be the first people to retract their notion to volunteer
I get it... LIFE.
this is the story...
THE HOUSE OF CARDS!
here I am trying to build this House of Cards
but... how can I build this house if I keep having to take cards out of the base that I had thought I could depend on
oh well... this is to be expected
it is still frustrating
but it is also to be expected
I rode the course... or at least portions of the course
I compiled in my mind the best route... an estimated distance... an estimated time
I CUT THE MANIFEST IN HALF!
I removed a number of Check Points that would need Volunteers
not so much because of the volunteer drop out rate
but more because... enough is enough...
I felt that my race was already pretty complex
by running the Manifest Out of Order\Any Order
well... that in itself can add more time to the race
there it is... the final manifest
not FIVE pages
they would have to race it... I would have to grade it...
trying to make it easier on myself and on others...
in my mind I would deliver a race that would be fun for those who wanted to race, hang, or volunteer
and then also... I was partnering with an old friend Ben Pekkanen to co-produce a film about the day
we would be crowd sourcing a film
we would ask volunteers and racers to document the day
then we would collect the footage to compile a film
more plates to spin... more cats to juggle...
my work with the Lil Belgian's at DCCX is good training for Alleycat race day
the manifest was coming together
or should I say
the manifest was coming apart
I reduce the need for volunteers by reducing the number of races within the race... but I would keep a few essential challenges...
I removed ALL Funeral Homes from the manifest...
then I removed small individual checkpoints as it seemed like enough might be enough
I added a few check points in an effort to STEER the racers
I had what I thought would be a logical way to run the race
and I wanted racer to take that path
as that path
would make things more predictable for check point closing times
we would at DUPONT CIRCLE... LOCALS FAVORITE!
it is a good way to gather
get people to show up and hang out
people can brush along side others who are there with no intention to volunteer
maybe a few people may choose to spend their day hanging with the volunteers
in an effort to direct the racers across town in a logical progression I would have the racer pick up the manifest at The Bridge Spot... I enlisted JimmyP and DC Wheels to be a Check Point at The Bridge Spot along side Garfield Park... in my mind... skaters would be sessioning the spot as racers arrived... it would be cool and chaotic... then racers would go to Congressional Cemetery to pick up their Race Numbers... do they need Race Numbers? No... just part of the race... now I enlisted my friend Jed from DCMTB to take on some VITAL TASKS... I would have Jed meet me at Dupont Circle for Manifest and Race Number Hand off!
the instructions to Jed seemed simple... when I told him the details... he was a little confused... but it was so simple... I just re-explained things to him... it was like this...
"Unzip your pants... then go to the bathroom... got it? if you go to the bathroom before you unzip your pants... it does not work..."
it was that simple...
"meet me at DUPONT CIRCLE at 3PM... leave Dupont at 3:30... make drop at The Bridge Spot\Garfield Part and then progress Congressional Cemetery gate at E St and Potomac Street SW"
the instructions were not entirely clear to the listener... with men there can be an issue... something is often said and the male listener does not hear what is said but they hear what they think they heard... not sure what Jed heard... at one point I realized that he thought he was going to a Cemetery in Georgetown... why? because we went there last year... why would we go to the same spot as last year? Different Year... Different Race... Listen to My Words... Hear What I Say... SIMPLE!!!
Not to dwell on it... but JED FUCKED UP!
I have not talked to Jed yet... we talked for one second on race day where I said he Fucked Up... and he said he did not Fuck Up... we will talk later... but he fucked up...
I told him not to rush... but to watch the clock...
knowing racers were released at 4:20... he had to be at Congressional Cemetery AFTER DROPPING OFF THE MANIFEST by 4:21... Easy Peasy... Simple and Clean... Forrest Gump Could have handled that responsibility... Gomer Pyle could have handled that assignment... not sure what happened to Jed? Did he pass go? did he collect 100 Dollars? Why was he not there? HE BOTCHED MY RACE!
I spend MONTHS PLANNING THIS! AND HE WAS NOT THERE!
THE LEAD TWO RACERS WERE THERE BEFORE HIM!
now... those racers were supposed to get their manifest before the race number... sure... illogical... but that was the effort to put racers at the furthest point and form a logical trajectory to The Gantry with a few stops along the way... well... a few racers heard differently... but really... I have known DannyK to run races in reverse to try and beat the system... he heard what he wanted to hear... he wanted to make a play that could play to his advantage... it could have worked... BUT NO! JED WAS NOT AT THE CHECKPOINT! am I mad at this? well... I am frustrated... I am let down... yes... I am pissed off!
that is what you get when you try to have THE ROUGH DRAFT as your FINAL!
it is like I am trying to produce a Broadway Show... only these actors have never seen the script before and I am just yelling KICK HIGHER... Jed did not even raise his leg... not sure what happened... he was the opening act... and well... he botched it... did it sink the ship? no... but it is a major blemish... in many ways HE RUINED MY DAY... it was hard for me to get over his GLITCH... I told him the night prior that his contribution would be VITAL... he was pumped to be a part of it... he wanted to take it seriously... yet still... yet still he Fucked It Up! Thanks Jed!
it gets better... hold on... I am not done with the tar and feathers... the public shaming is not done...
my pain will be eternal for this failure
so... my thought... Jed should feel it for a second
as I put my heart and soul into this project
he showed up for an afternoon... so... what else was there?
yes... the event is also being documented by myself and BennyP Productions!
in the notion of crowd sourcing video I not only enlisted Jed to make that drop off... but Jed was instructed to capture some video of racers for this film
Jed brought a GoPro...
at one point I met up with Joe at a checkpoint, The House... The House on Georgia Avenue... a Gentelemen's Club... The House hosted a private party for our race... they were closed at this time of the day... they opened early just for our event... so... I did some filming at The House with Jed's GoPro camera... lots of filming... I got racers coming in... racers going out... racers interacting with the talent... and the talent on stage doing their thing... it was epic... and well... Jed lost the GoPro...
JED LOST THE GOPRO CAMERA WITH FOOTAGE THAT HE AND I SHOT THAT DAY!
What? Jed? Would it be bad for me to say... things would have gone better had you not helped?
It is like you came in with the INTENT of ruining my day... was that Jed's goal? to ruin my day? he nearly did... I tried not to obsess on the check point debacle... but the next day when I heard that Jed lost his GoPro... I COULD HAVE JUST FILMED WITH MY PHONE... oh man... I have kids... and well... this kid would have gotten a word from me if he were my kid... I get it... volunteers... there to help... blah blah blah... I only asked so much... and well.. Jed fell short on all counts. thanks Jed (that thanks is sarcastic)
well... Alleycats often have their glitches...
my race had a number of "hiccups"
now... my slow grading of the papers... that may be a blemish on the day as well
I was trapped at THE HOUSE...
back to the race...
Racers who would be following what I believed to be the fastest smartest trajectory would go from
Dupont to The Bridge Spot to Congressional Cemetery
a few selfies... then The Gantry
across town to the French Street Park pick up
a few selfies and pick ups in that zone
then towards Georgetown... not going north to Georgia... keep going across
Exorcist then Mt Zion Cemetery
with a few selfies and stops in between
then onto Mount Pleasant for some fun at Don Juan's
bummer... Greengos was another early closing spot
The Raven in Mount Pleasant would be one of 4 spots with Mount Pleasant Whiskey at the Bar...
SELFIE with the bottle of Mount Pleasant Whiskey
DOLLAR SHOTS FOR RACERS... please tip your bartender...
The Raven... Lyman's... The House... and The Bull Bar all had Mount Pleasant Whiskey Bottles
and Try of Mount Pleasant Whiskey was traveling around by bike pouring shots and joining in on the fun! THANKS TROY\MOUNT PLEASANT WHISKEY!
now... people may have gone to The House on Georgia Ave.
months prior I had contacted Kevin Dillard of Demoncats Photos about taking photos at the race... but more specifically taking photos at The House...
Kevin is an excellent photographer... much of his work is cycling culture... but he also has frequent paying gigs with body building competitions... it seemed like the ladies at The House would be a meld of these two different skills sets... Kevin was ONBOARD... until the day of...
not sure if Kevin was in a mood...
at Dupont at the gathering at the start... not sure if Kevin pulled out the camera
no worries... I wanted him for the house...
we talked... Kevin left off for one of the earlier check points... no reason to send Kevin to The House too early... as it was much later in the race...
okay... I am skipping tense...
talking about the race to come
talking about the race as it happened
sorry... that is what you are gonna get
after the racers were sent off to get manifests at The Bridge Spot I went to a few check points...
popped into The Shop... saw Geoffrey and Caprice... they were chillin... and they were ready for racers... Gus showed up with a camera... so... that checkpoint was ready... so I went to SOM RECORDS... sure enough... the employee knew of the event... but was not ready for racers with records... so... I prepped him... he called the owner Neal... and we were set at SOM RECORDS... I left off from there as Gabe and Veek approached... then left off across town... Georgetown...
I had the intention to check in on the Exorcist Stairs...
but instead... I went to Mt Zion Cemetery which is also the Female Union Band Cemetery... famous integrated cemeteries in Georgetown
my time was too long at this check point to head to the Exorcist Stairs... instead I left off for The House
while at the Cemetery and there spots I made periodic checks to the phone...
text messages and phone calls
racers and volunteers with questions
it was early in the game that I learned that both Johnny W. and DannyK dropped out of the race... these two potential winners very well may have viewed the Jed Debacle as a harbinger of things to come...
thanks Jed.... the GAME CHANGED! THE HORSES THAT I WOULD HAVE BET ON WERE NO LONGER IN THE RACE! GAME CHANGED! DAY CHANGED! THANKS JED!
so... one of the people I was communicating with was Kevin Dillard
over text I suggested migrating to The House
then I called and spoke with Kevin
riding up the hill was a deterrent to Kevin... I asked if he was injured or sick... it was not clear to me how this little hill was unsurmountable... there was some back and forth... I was not getting buy in... we talked for another few seconds... Kevin begrudgingly agreed to go to The House....
some more time at this historic cemetery in Georgetown at 27th St and Mill Road NW and then I pedaled across town to The House... no Mount Pleasant stop for me... straight to The House...
when I got to The House Kevin Dillard had just arrived...
it was quiet...
The House was Closed... it was early... The hours of operation were stated that they did not open until later... but out front there was a massive TOUR BUS with The House logo and images of the dancers... they were here... they were ready for us... I knocked... the bouncer opened the door... I asked for Darrell...
Darrell came out and filled the sidewalk... I am a taller\larger than average sized man... DARRELL DWARFS ME... Darrell cam out and greeted me with a firm handshake and a smile... it was like gathering with an old friend... as we talked the dancer came out and the party began... we got a lay of the land and then racers started to arrive... it was CHAOS!!! BUT WE WERE RIGHT ON TIME!
yes... Kevin Dillard warmed up to the idea of snapping some photos at The House
same for the racers...
initially the racers treated things like a NASCAR pit stop
trying to enter and exit as quickly as possible
but I slowed the pace
reminded racers to look at the manifest
and that they had to give the ladies a dollar
some people were good enough to tip more than one dollar
yes... The House was a great check point
Darrel and The Dancers were Gracious Hosts
I still need to drop off a package of race SWAG to show my thanks
time was ticking... it was getting late
it seemed like the last set of racers may have passed through the house
text messages and phone calls alerted me that people were gathering at the finish
but... butt... butt The House
I said my goodbyes to The House and pointed for The Finish
The Bull Bar\The 14th Street Graffiti Museum
I arrived at The Bull Bar
the party was in full effect
the race had elicited its desired response
people were pumped
the chatter about this check point or that check point
this route versus that route
it was exactly what I had intended to create
except one problem...
I HAD TO GRADE THE MANIFESTS
the race promoter's task is not a pleasant one
a bit of a martyr on race day
the promoter those a party that they do not get to experience
back to work
no rest for the wicked
beers... shots... beers... and maybe a few puffs
unlike Clinton... I have to admit... I inhale
the scoring of the manifest was moving along...
people gathered around me
as I scored the manifests I reflected upon a dilemma
there was a Tattoo Prize for the top finishers in the Open and the WTF categories
I had told the racers... I would need a minimum of 5 racers in each category of it to be a category
WTF- Women Trans Femme only had THREE RACERS... not enough for the Bethesda Tattoo gift certificate
going into the event... I anticipated this... I had a plan
in short... I would host a quick race... winner of that one short race would get the Tattoo Prize... Nicole and others all had a chance to win a tattoo...
fearing that there would be no buy in if I tried this race after the awards... I stopped grading the manifests... I quickly set up this race... race from The Bull Bar to the stage at Carter Barron Amphitheater... I would to ahead of the racers... put a flashing light by the hole in the fence and wait for racers... Marina would be at the Bull Bar... give instructions... and release racers 10 minutes after my departure...
it was hilarious... I wanted to make that check point happened...
sadly... DJ Danny Lesh beat Nicole by 20 yards and a matter of seconds...
we then went back to The Bull Bar where others drank and smoked while I graded papers...
eventually there was a LONG LIST of PERFECT MANIFESTS!
in the event of a TIED SCORE... FINISHING ORDER WOULD DICTATE THE FINISHING ORDER!
First - Gabe
Second - Dario
Third - Bruce!
beautiful weather in the District
lots of representation by racers and volunteers
we have some film footage
we all had a good time
in fact... we had a blast!!!
I need to walk the dog
John Dinn took some great shots