Friday, December 15, 2006

Five Weeks of Slackjaw Yelling........

Today was a horrible day. Wind and rain, everything going sideways. Down the street a tree lay over 85th avenue off NE Prescott.
From my room, at around 5:30, I could feel the rash of weather hit my window, moving it within the frame.
This was all a bad sign, as within the hour I would be heading out the door. While waiting for Bjorn, I put the clothes I was to wear in the dryer, warming them up for the journey.
We headed out around 6:00, up the hill and across town, leaning into the wind the whole way. But, we had to get downtown to race the first of five alleycats, in the "Cash Money Series". Drew (Slackjaw) was waiting with about 20 others at the Ash Street Saloon, 2nd and Ash, downtown.
I felt horrible from bike polo and beer, but felt I had to get there for the start, which basically was three minutes after my arrival. Having the location of three stops, and 3 bonus possibilities, Drew finally stopped yelling and said "go"!
The following is a basic rundown of my trip around town, alone, as those other suckers are not fast enough to track me, I rode alone.
I headed across Sw 3rd avenue towards the NW, where the first stop was "Monkey Park", 27th and Vaughn. There were a few riders behind me through the "Hurl" district, so I turned off my rear light to shake them, which worked better than you could imagine. While going around Chatman school, I got a good view of my surroundings, and saw no one else taking the obvious best route. Upon entering "Monkey Park", I saw Scottie and Ian just leaving. This told me that I was in line for third place, since no one else had taken the obvious best route. I searched the stairwell where Drew said the clue was. Which is also where it wasn't, costing me about 15 minutes of time, and 5 years of my life.
After speaking to Drew, I found the clue "Rain Rain Go Away", and took off for the next stop, the pedestrian bridge at SW Hooker Avenue. Todd "D" danger had informed me at the Ash Street that I got to ride one of my favorite race routes in the city, "The Ho Chi Minh Trail". This is a route from the northwest, past the stadium, past Lincoln High, through PSU, and spits you out going about 30 miles an hour past the Barbur "Y". A quick right turn on Hooker put me at the pedestrian bridge, and made up a full 5 of the minutes I had lost. The clue was "90980", who knows why, possibly the zip code in Yakima where Drew grew up. I didn't even stop to write it down, as Lucky was on the bridge, and had no idea where the clue was yet.
I passed Leila, then passed her friend on SW Front Ave, going quite fast towards the Hawthorne bridge.
Up and over the bridge, down Hawthorne to SE 12th Ave., where I took a sharp left towards Col. Summers park. I passed Jenn and her friends, who were leaving the park. They yelled out "It isn't there, we couldn't find it!" But, knowing the clue was in the tennis court,as the did too, I rolled right up to it, read it, and left the park, stopping in the dark to write it down.
One of the important things about doing well in a alleycat is not to give anything away. When people know that you know what you are doing, they will follow you, and watch you to find out what to do. This is not good.
I sailed across SE Belmont towards SE Stark. Flying down Stark, I decided not to ride the cheese grater on the Morrison bridge in the high wind, so I bee-lined it to SE Ankeny, and the entrance to the Burnside bridge.
This was the last hurrah, as the Ash Street is right on the other side of the bridge. But the sidewalk/ bike lane is partially cement, with much exposed metal, which, in the wind, is very dangerous.
I was forced to ride easy across the bridge, then flew into the Ash Street, finding Drew.
The results were in, after a half hour spent recounting stories. Scottie won it in 39 minutes, earning $95, with Ian (2nd) tracking him the whole way, though I heard not so close. What did I say about people doing well by following others? I know lucky was 4th, Fox was 8th, and I was 9th, earning 55 points towards the end result. Knowing the extra time I spent at the first stop, I should have relaxed and picked up bonus points, with things such as a car magnet, and a clue from a parking garage in the "Hurl District". Fox was the only one who did, and reaped the benefit.
While hanging and drinking at the bar, it was pointed out to me that I was the poster child of the "Cash Money Series", with my face emblazoned on the spoke card. I am the face of the messenger hundred dollar bill. Go figure!
You will have four more chances to track me, as this series continues into January. I suspect that I will be in the top two or three when it all boils down, but I think Scottie will win it all.
That I may not win doesn't really matter, 'cause every 20 year old punk I beat adds a full 5 years to my life.....

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