RACE REPORT - Alleycat for Joy

it has been a few days...
a few days is long enough to forget the intricate details of the day
the most effective Race Reports are started closer to the race finish
when the sweat is still fresh on the chamois and the muscles are covered in a layer of dust, dirt, and car exhaust
alas no... it is Monday morning and the event was Saturday
I think I have already forgotten the details of the day
yet I will try to slap the keyboard and see what appears on the screen

it has been just over 3 Weeks since Dzhoy Zuckerman aka Joy was shot and killed on his bicycle in what may have been a robbery gone bad...

in the week that followed the death of Joy there were a number of group rides to bring people together and mourn the loss of a very special individual

the day after the shooting there was the Sister City Alleycat
it was unclear if we would race in the shadow of the murder of our friend
we gathered and it was decided
we raced and then after the race we rode our bikes to the location of the murder for a moment of silence\remembrance
then also... on that day Dario Martinez decided that he would host a DZHOY THEMED ALLEYCAT in the weeks to follow...

Dario sent out the word... Alleycat for Joy!!!
the Alleycat Race would involve places Joy would go as well as places that were PURPLE
as purple was Joy's signature color... "they" wore purple every day... lots of their accessories were purple... purple was a less than subtle theme in Joy's day to day

which had me thinking... where would this race be taking us?
what sort of race will Dario conjure up?

Joy was a part of the DC Bike Family

Joy worked doing deliveries on their bicycle...
Joy worked at various bicycle shops...
Joy lead bicycle group rides...
Joy raced in Alleycats...
Joy attended Critical Mass Ride...
Joy played bicycle polo...
Joy attended the DC Bike Party...
Joy lead a juggling group on Sundays in Malcom X Park

where would we go?
what would be on the manifest?

none of this would be known to me until I was at the race start with the manifest in my hand

but I thought that I might have some idea of what this day may involve
because Joy's day to day bicycle adventures were an inspiration to all of us
the miles and miles with smiles and smiles

working for Capital BikeShare as a Field Bike Mechanic has me on the bike for work for 5 days a week
the job is moderately physical
the job is tough on my body
any outside job in the DC summer head and humidity will take its toll
then also... 
I have been recovering from an Achilles injury
yes... it was a few years ago, but the Achilles is a "slow heal"
although I am comfortable riding the bike
I am not feeling like I am able to climb or sprint
which means...
I am not able to ride at my limits... I can not push to threshold 
the legs are not responding as they were prior to my Achilles injury
there was inactivity and atrophy

so...  I planned to attend and race, but not with the level of intensity that I would like to deliver

I have experienced some of the recent Alleycats to start the racers in the order that the registered
meaning that people that register early start the race before those that register later
this idea came to surface
yet I still thought it best to arrive closer to the 4PM Start Time than the 3PM Registration
as it is hot and I do not want to spend too much time baking in the sun before the race start

so... I spent the morning and afternoon putzing around the house... walking the dog... and getting bike and gear ready to race

What to wear? What to Wear?
Pack or No Pack?

normally when racing in Alleycats I like to use a hip pouch for manifest, phone, wallet, etc.
then I often wear a backpack in case I need to pick something up
and then of course
I like to carry the basic bicycle multi tool, pump, tire lever, and spare tube

Dario often likes to have the racers pick something up that they have to carry to the finish
it is a messenger race
a bag is one of the tools of a messenger

knowing the Dupont Circle and the Stoney's Finish
made it such that I would drop off a lock and a change of clothes at the finish so that I would not have to carry things for the duration of the race
locks are RARELY a necessity in a race

the race was for Joy...
the t-shirt for post race has a purple Alien face on it

Camera or No Camera?
if Yes to Camera... Which Lens"

the notion of the camera did not excite me, yet I figured I would bring a camera and shoot a few shots
it is cool for the events to be documented
it is never known if Dillard or Lagoy would be able to attend to support and take photos... so I decided yes on the camera... went with something light and compact - Fuji X100

I arrived to Dupont pleased to see so many people in the park
the "Courier Corner" of the outer bench was FILLED with the Usual Suspects
as I mixed and mingled I tried to get a read on what to expect from the day
no one knew anything about the manifest

who was here to race?
who was here to hang?

there appeared that a good number of the attendees who were working checkpoints 

I snapped a few photos... but quickly put the camera away so I could start to get my mind ready to race... I can be tightly wound

as I scanned the area to take a measure of the top horses of the day I noticed some vacancies
the night prior FLAT had played
neither Syd nor DannyK appeared to be in the park

No Syd and No DK means there are two less racers who would be likely to push me further down the list in the General Classification 

then who else?

Andy Zalan (AZ), Brian Clark (Bigs), and Jordon (Jordon) were all there to support
yet none of them were planning to race that day due to various reasons
which would free up three more spaces in the TOP FIVE

Another person there to support but not looking to race?

it was hot... it was humid...
go figure
August in DC

there were a good number of people
the volunteers and supporters numbers made it hard for me to guesstimate who would be racing and who would be the racers to watch?

my mood was mixed
I had questions about my body and my mind
after walking around and doing some catching up with friends I talked with Bruce (Legend Bruce not One Eyed Bruce)
I offered up and an allegiance... Bruce accepted... when we got the manifests we started to collaborate a plan... as the plan developed our duo became a trio... John Dinn (Pibble Racing) also approached Bruce with the notion of an allegiance... sure... of course... 

I was hesitant... not for any reason other than me wanting Bruce all to myself... but of course... John Dinn, Bruce, and myself all have similar engines (and ages) so it seemed like a solid pairing 

both John Dinn and Bruce have a long history of both racing Alleycats with competitive finishes as well as being the host of some epic Alleycat events
so really... it was cool for them to let me tag along

the 4PM Start Time Arrived...

not sure if it was at 4 O Clock on the Dot or few minutes after manifest were handed out
a survey of the various addresses showed that it would be a fairly long race
there were destinations that would take us through 3 of the 4 quadrants in DC

Bruce and I were in basic agreement about the route... 
part of our effort would be to escape the crowd and try not to pick up any hitch hikers

Corcoran Street and then onto Georgetown... then down Pennsylvania Avenue picking up a few spots before pushing toward Rush Rink... then Metro Branch Trail... onto Takoma... then back towards the finish knocking out a few points north on our way back down south to Stoney's...

or something to that effect
that is all of the top of my head
as I do not have a copy of the manifest in hand

there was the 3PM Registration
there was the 4PM Start
was it the 4PM Manifest Handout?

in the classic messenger style it was... hurry up and wait...
in the classic Alleycat style the race was gonna start late...
of course... waiting for someone...

waiting for someone?

did someone have to go pee pee?
did someone have to go poo poo?

I recall having a flat at my arrival to the start... there was not effort to delay the start time
it was up to me to fix my shit and be ready for the start

sorry... I am tightly wound

I wanted the race to start
I also did not want the racers to all have time to enter the addresses into the phones
that takes away the advantage of knowing the city

orienteering versus digital navigation

John Dinn... Bruce... Myself... 
we are old school
the GPS is our BRAINS!
the Voice Navigation is the Voice In Out Heads!!!


if people want to enter stuff in their phones... they can do that on their time
it really frustrated me that this delay was allowing everyone more time to sort things out digitally

releasing people and allowing people to take off while others stay and enter things in their phone would work well with the 6:30 Manifests at Stoney's
how strict would Dario be?


it was not my race
it was Dario's race
as John Dinn once said, "As the Alleycat Promoter  you are King for the Day and you get to make the rules for the day"

like a dog waiting for its owner to take him for a walk
I waited attentively
not using that time to study the manifest in greater depth
just waiting for the release

this was a POINTS RACE
something that did not occur to me while racing
in a Points Race... finishing order is not really as much of a factor
except for completing the manifest before the cut off
in the case of tied scores finishing order comes into play
it was our understanding that there was a 6:30 Cut Off

FINISH BY 6:30 at Stoney's on P Street near Logan Circle 

then it happened
there was the release
people started to scatter
Bruce\Dinn\and myself all exited Dupont Circle Park from different spots
even though we each were headed to the 1710 Corcoran Street Checkpoint as our agreed first stop

it was not an original thought to head that direction
bikes swarmed around
Bruce almost went too far north... he was still on 18th as I peeled off on New Hampshire Avenue
I called out to Bruce as I turned on Corcoran
catching his attention just in time

when we got to the address there were other racers collecting
everyone was trying to figure out what the manifest was asking us to do


phone out of pack
selfie taken... second selfie taken just to be sure
phone back in pack


as we left out from the checkpoint... other racers were headed in...
from there... 2810 M Street in Georgetown

Bruce, Dinn, and myself had all agreed to ride\race together
it is not clear if we all took the same route to our Georgetown Desitination

me... I left out... 
New Hampshire towards Dupont Circle then onto P Street 
then after the second ramp entrance into Rock Creek I was on the path at Rose Park 
on into Georgetown at 28th Street

excuse me... pardon me... excuse me...
people were out in force
lots of foot traffic
lots of car traffic

I think others may have kept it straight on New Hampshire then onto M Street or maybe people stayed on P Street and then took the side streets to M rather than the path through the park

it was chaos
in the classic Alleycat Style

the address was clear... but it was a photo
something to do with the 51st State?

I snapped a shot of the store front... then I went and snapped a shot of the homeless man who has a MASSIVE AMERICAN FLAG... which was folded and in his shopping cart... but usually spans the corner of the bridge over Rock Creek Park
but did not feel satisfied
so... rolled back to the chaos and confusion and saw that people were taking a photo of a sculpture that was high up on the side of the building down the side of the building between the 4 Seasons and the address on the manifest


gotta be fluid through the check points
I am slow through the checkpoints
the winners are always fluid through the checkpoints

although I have my manifest, pen, and phone in my hip pouch
there can also be the issue of reading glasses
fumbling around is not flowing through
I tried to keep momentum and limit the fumbling

on to 20th and Penn...

those were some of the donations that I handed off to Dario 
I thought that the purple bottles would work well as a checkpoint pick up
stoked I had enough for all the racers
it would turn out that there were water bottles left over


water bottle in the side pouch
no need for a signature
trying to keep rolling
trying to fast and fluid through the checkpoints

the water bottle was trying to slide out of my side pouch
racer in front of me lost his bottle in front of me
I would sort that out bottle issue later
rode semi paranoid with my hand checking my side pouch for the flap to be down and the bottle inside as I rode

on to the next destination


Bruce, John, and I were still together
a little jumbled
but together
I checked with Bruce, "URBAN STEMS?"

by Bruce's suggestion we took the Wrong Way on I Street and then a diagonal through Farragut
several times through the race I would take a different route than John Dinn and Bruce
in no case did my selection get me there any more quickly
nor did I arrive any later
in each time I tried to deviate and take what I thought could be a faster more fluid line
we all would get to that address at the same time


toss an Urban Stems flower box into the front basket of an Urban Stems cargo rig
DONE. Get Signature.
Give Johnny Shit for Not Racing!
achieve the task at that destination 
and then
confirm the next location

not clear... nor does it matter
John Dinn works at Urban Stems
the check point was run by Stems delivery folk
I think John may have gotten his signature without having to do the task
I could be wrong
it was just another crazy frenetic moment that day

somewhere along the way we had picked up a hitch hiker
someone who I was not familiar with
someone that I did not know
he was younger
he was hanging tough

Brandon... Brandon on a mountain bike
bright orange jersey and a basic mountain bike

on several occasions I tried to have us drop the kid
I was not volunteering for the Big Brother Program
it is a race
this kid was having great success riding in our shadow
I thought it be sporting to make him earn it

but I do not think that Bruce or John cared

on the way to Conte's at Navy Yard there was some discussion
Bruce and John Dinn were discussing that there was an error on the manifest
each of them thought that the bicycle shop was in SW and not SE
I disagreed
I knew were Conte's was
I also knew that there was a Capital BikeShare Station at 4th and N SW
not a Bicycle Shop

as we rode...
John and Bruce focused on each other
going back and forth
as I rode just ahead of them
both John and Bruce have decade upon decade of messenger\delivery experience
I am "messenger adjacent"

yet still...
I knew I was right

then it happened...
they agreed
they agreed with each other that it was in SE?

what about mention from me about the address being correct?

no worries
we were each the captains of our own ships
I mean bikes

Pick Up at Conte's Bikes
Pick Up and a Signature
thanks and appreciation to each and every volunteer
even if I am scatterbrain
I try to be polite
especially to the volunteers

Conte's to Rush Rink
Bike Polo Court

Bruce is an avid Bike Polo Player
deferred to Bruce on how to get to Rush Rink

at Rush Rink we had to score a goal... or better yet... a small goal for more points

having never held a bike polo mallet I was pleased with my lucky first try
that I almost botched because I chased it and almost gave it a second hit to be sure it went it
quickly forgetting that we had to shoot from behind the crack in the concrete


we started to roll out...
John had to dip back and get his pen...
I wanted to keep rolling
as I am tightly wound
but instead
I slow pedaled and waited 

did I mention I am tightly wound
tightly wound and a little competitive 

not realizing it was a Points race 
I was still focused on placement at the finish
seeing other racers had me wondering where others were in the race

how were we doing?
how were others doing?

Dinn was by my side in no time
funny... both Bruce and I had already admitted to feeling the effects of the day
John seemed unphased... like he was soft pedaling... like he had legs to go much faster if he wanted to

I tried to get Bruce and Dinn excited and stressed that we needed to hammer if we wanted to be in the TOP FIVE

Tanner Park was a bit of a question mark to Bruce
I knew it was on the Metro Branch Trail
this reminded me of an Alleycat that SheliaM had hosted a few years back
Bruce and I raced together on that day
Bruce was not familiar with the Metro Branch Trail in that race either
so... Bruce deferred to me on this one

we got there... 
arriving for a disc challenge
disc golf challenge
we had 4 discs and a Nalgene water bottle
we had to hit the water bottle from 10 feet away


none of us hit the target
no BONUS points for the disc toss
only the 10 points for finding the checkpoint

there was some thought about the rest of the race
there was a Takoma\Takoma Park check point
not far from my house
it made most sense to go all the way up
then come down and finish the rest of the race

leaving out of Tanner Park as we approached the Catholic U Campus
John Dinn realized he had forgotten his pack at the the disc golf challenge


I was feeling like an astronaut doing one of those oxygen deprived test of simple functions
my water bottles were empty
my lips were chapped
I had vicious dry mouth
my legs were starting to get tired
not sore... not hurting... not pain from injury...
but tired
my legs were tired 
I wanted to finish
I wanted to be competitive
I am tightly wound

John asked for phone numbers
Paul Lagoy was taking photos and a guy named Steve was working the checkpoint
I thought this could be handled later
I mentioned that I did not have their phone numbers but we could hit them up on Messenger

I get it... John needed his bag
Bruce and John stopped and called to make sure the bag was picked up
maybe a call to Dario and then Dario took it from there
I am not sure... something like that

with the bag found and being brought to the finish
we were back on the bike

I will admit it... I tried to pick up the pace
maybe thinking I could drop my team mates
but no
John Dinn would not have it

like a Chase Group in the tour de France
the lead was captured
John had reeled me in
Bruce, John, and I were back together headed to Takoma 

as we worked our way to the 4th Street address I brought up the BONUSES
as of yet... we had ignored the last four bonuses

Purple Flower
Purple Car
Funny License Plate
Funny License Plate with Purple Car

OBSESSED we all scanned the parked cars for plates and purple

all those cars were various shades of blue
Bruce has a bit of color blindness where he is red deficient and can not identify between certain colors

this explains why Bruce does not stop at Red Lights
he is color blind

it was funny to hear Bruce ask if cars were purple until we actually found one

oh man... 
where are we gonna find a purple car?

we passed the Memorial to Joy at 3rd and Quackenbos
then we decided that we could get our Purple Flowers there
then onto the Takoma sign on 4th Street
another set of Selfies then back on the bike

in my mind I felt that there would be a separation
that our time as a team had served its purpose and we should try to all get back as quickly as we could

John and Bruce each showed me that I was not fast enough to break away
so... we maintained

I found us a Purple Car...
then Bruce found us a Vanity Plate...
we knew it would be unlikely to find another purple car, but with a vanity plate
so we focused on the remaining checkpoints

1500 Ogden Street?


here I was again... drawing a blank and unable to think...
it was hot and humid
and well
I was exhausted
exhausted and not really clear about this street

we were leaving through my neighborhood of Manor Park

is that a two or three syllable word?

John Dinn yells out...
Ogden is near Otis
Two Syllables!

we find it... just as John had said... near Otis
but it was a weird semi diagonal street hidden by Perry and Spring Streets

Selfie at the Ogden Market


We take off... again we leave out different directions
a block away I hear Bruce Yell... 4800 17th!!!


I thought I had scanned and memorized the last set of check points
I was headed to Purple Patch in Mount Pleasant, then Jugglers in Malcolm X, parking lot at Cardoza High School... THEN THE FINISH AT STONEY'S!!!

but no... 
lucky for me
just as I had shouted out to Bruce at one of the first check points to catch him from over shooting the spot
Bruce returned the favor 

I got there before Bruce
we all snapped shots of the Purple Peace Sign on 17th Street
then left off on our way

there was no shaking John Dinn
we arrived at Malcom X together
did our juggling tasks with me getting a signature just seconds before him
allowing me to leave solo already half knowing where I wanted to go
then... just behind me
I was leaving a quick turn around at the checkpoint at Cardoza as John was arriving
another delivery guy... Greg was there... I was amused and day dreamed how I had taken photos of him and his bike on 13th Street right there some time prior... maybe a year or more ago

then at Stoney's
I passed off my manifest to Dario
and John Dinn was just a few steps and a racer or two behind me

that was fast
then Bruce a few steps behind John
with a few racers in between them

it is a Points Race
the finish order is only important in the case of a tie
and well
Bruce, John Dinn, and myself all raced the same race and should have identically scored manifests

but no...
Dario scored Bruce 10 Points lower
not sure how
not sure why

but it was not important for Bruce to dispute it

there was beer... there was food...
Stoney's had a great bowl of Chili with cornbread on the side that went well with the beers I consumed

Dario threw a wonderful event!
lots of volunteers
lots of racers
lots of people hanging out

good gathering
lots of people hanging
lots of people racing
fantastic gathering after an amazing race

the manifest were scored
the points were tallied


Dario Hooked Up His HOMIES!

oh... no... that is not what happened.

I am not clear on the Top Five
1. Gabe
3. Vik
5. Me\Joel\Gwadzilla

nice race
cool loop
fun challenges
good times

Fun Times Racing with Legend Bruce and John Dinn who is also a legend!
Lots of Messenger Experience Right There!
they raced it clean and to the point
fast and clean
no unnecessary risks
no foolishness
no missed or skipped check points
they just play it straight
like pros

pleasure racing with John and Bruce!!!

great gathering

thanks Dario


there was love and remembrance of Joy

Love to Joy


the pick ups all had meaning or ties to Dzhoy
the purple water bottles
a multi sided purple di (dice)
what else... what else
what did we get at Conte's?
what else were pick ups?

Photos of me by Paul Lagoy
other photos by me
find those and more on FACEBOOK

Gwadzilla on Facebook

and then...
here are two shots by Kevin Dillard
Out like a Lion
In like a Lamb 

question with the manifest...
question with the Bonuses!!!

the Purple Car!!!
not Purple Carl
the Purple Car
was there a different Purple Car and Purple Car with Funky Tags?

of people used the SAME CAR for the two bonuses
well... that does not seem like it would score the points



it amused me...
in the Sister City Alleycat Calvin Steve was ROCKING one of my old DCMTB\City Bikes mountain bike team jerseys
then this week...
Bruce showed up on a different DCMTB\City Bikes Jersey

a few years back I did some spring cleaning
shared a few dozen of my old jerseys with friends
great to see that stuff

like seeing the Bike Law socks on Amos
thanks Alleycat Sponsors of Alleycats Past!!!