Monday, November 5, 2007

CYCAT: 'Clone For A Day

I can't remember how I found out about this event, but I am sure happy that I did. I think I followed a link off of DQ's blog? I had never done an alley cat race before and thought, "Might as well keep trying new cycling things, you ain't gettin' any younger!" At $5.00 it can't be any worse than the $30.00 that I threw out to ride two laps of Spooky Cross! Still, being a little gun shy about not knowing who might be there, I played it safe and rode up to the registration area to see if I knew any faces. I was relieved to see Alex Renner there and he waved me over to the sign up tables. Once there I signed up and entered in the singlespeed category. There was some discussion of what constitutes a fixed gear vs. a single. Someone said that if it is fixed but has brakes it's just a singlespeed. Others were of the opinion that fixed is fixed, bailout or no. Who should come along and lay down the authority but Steve Lauber! He pulled up on his fixie, "Fixed is fixed!", he said, done! So we were all hanging out, and I have to say there was a cool mix of cycling styles and people. Carney Bros. Inc. on a dirt jump bike and a sweeeeeeeet Sycip fixie, Alex's friend Mario on a LeMond cross bike, Laubers sweet Raleigh, (check out his brake lever actuated bell sometime, wicked cool) Alex on his stickered Trek fixed, an old Schwinn fix with extremely narrow bars, a fendered Raleigh fixie, a number of "campus bikes" (gets you to a bike rack somewhere close to class, might be there when you go back for it, no big if not) a killer Bianchi BASS, and others. I rode my bike of the week, Sentinel singlespeed. I forgot that my camera was in my car, grrrr! After hangin' for some time we got the goods handed out. Bryan Moritz and crew had set up a wild premise for this race and we were now going to find out the details. Credit to DQ for giving the idea to Bryan. Each rider was given a bingo type card with 24 numbers filled in and a free space. On the back of the sheet was a map of campus with about a dozen dots. Each dot represented a bike rack on campus that we were to ride to. In whatever order you wanted. At each rack was a series of three numbers written on the cement in different colored chalk (34 76 52 etc.) If you had the number on your card you wrote the color of the number in that space. Once you had bingo, or in this case CYCAT, you hauled ass back to the starting point. Sounded clear enough. I was wavering on wearing a helmet or not. No mention of it during the instructions, only a few people had them on, but Alex says, "You have kids don't you?" Strapped on the brain bucket and waited on the street for a neutral roll out to a traffic light. At the light we were waiting until it went to green, and like that we were off! I was rolling along with a grin and passed a few guys on the way to campus when Alex rips by on his Trek. I thought that I was going to get all competitive, but realized that this was more about fun, and also there would be a big luck factor with this format so I hopped a curb and grabbed a little air. Cut a few lines between some trees, and was wishing I had a back brake so I could skid around some turns! I found out quickly that there were some black chains strung between poles right in the best lines. Black is hard to see in shadows! I had decided that my strategy would be to get the numbers at central campus first, then work in a clockwise direction to pick up the rest. As I was heading to the first set, I cut through the grass to get a better line. Approaching the sidewalk I did a lunge wheelie to clear the sidewalk. My chain must have popped off and as my back wheel hit the sidewalk I shot forward. Hit the only brake I had out of habit(front brake/quick stop) and the next thing I know I'm sliding across the grass on my shoulder (instant thoughts of Varnum, Emily, helmet choice, shit I better not trash my Ralph shirt, wow this grass is really green,there goes my race, etc.) I stood up laughing and rolled the chain back on but could not find the numbers anyplace! Crap! so I carried out the strategy and wound up finding the last number I needed after returning to the flagpole for a last check. CYCAT! Hauling ass back to the park I thought that I would be way behind. I saw a campus cop as I flew by and thought I was going to get maced or something, but he just said Hi and kept walking. I could see Andrew Carney ahead of me and didn't think I could catch him. As I got closer I thought he was trying an aero tuck as he was sitting weird. Given that he was on a dirt jumping bike I thought that was the only riding position he could manage. I found out later that he had started with a broken and taped seat, and that he was sitting on the seat rails with the seat in his lap when I passed him! Awesome man! He cursed me as I went around him and I went on to finish 4th overall and first in singlespeed. I have to thank Bryan Moritz and the ISU cycling club for putting this event on. I hope they do it again, and I hope more people do it. Also major thanks to Steve Lauber and Bike World, "The Store That Supports The Sport!" I won a Surly flask and a Surly Singleator for my efforts, but also had a blast riding from the heart like a kid. Flat pedals and sneakers, jumping and bunny hopping, confusing and scaring pedestrians, laughing and crashing! Hope someone has pictures to post. Later!

9 comments:

Carney said...

Nice work. Good to hear you didn't join the injured list...it seems to be growing fast these days!

Paul Varnum said...

Funny to hear that I've become the voice in people's heads "don't wind up like varnum . . . ".

Travel Gravel said...

I could think of worse people to have inside there! Evel Knievel for instance? I was just thinking though that crashing hard with an inkpen in your mouth could cause serious problems. Good thing I wasn't clipless or the bike would have ridden me for 10 feet. Going out to ride right now, don't be hatin'! Later!

bryan said...

thanks for comin out and glad you enjoyed the "race"

im definitely plannin on puttin another one on in the spring...this time im thinkin of doin a giant HANGMAN game...should be another blast of a time :)

bontrag said...

You cleaned up with prizes:) We'll have to do more fun riding with the TI training crowd so that it's not all masochistic:)

bryan said...

check out my blog for some pics

www.bryan.moritzcycling.com

Travel Gravel said...

I think I have 5 bikes that I can use the Singleater on. Some of my bikes are so old that they don't have a hanger on the frame, and two singlespeeds have had the hanger cut off so they're out, but trust me it will have many uses. And I bought some Jack for the flask tonight! Thanks again! Later!

bluecolnago said...

sweet!

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