Friday, January 12, 2007

My Bike Is Fixed, My Mind Is Broken.

Once again, the following is a possibly hairy, probably long winded account of my personal race and routing in a hotly contested messenger alleycat. There are places in this route YOU SHOULD NOT GO ON A BIKE! Ever.
That is my disclaimer... I digress.


I spent the afternoon drinking a lot of water, and eating. Then eating some more. Followed by some more eating, and more water. Putting it on, in order to be able to burn it off.
I rode my fixed gear, a very light machine, more like a rocket. It stops on a dime, turns itself, and flows like butter off toast.
It needed a once over, which I quickly gave it. I put it's weight at just over 14 pounds.
One of the great things about a track bike with all sealed bearings, the upkeep is so simple you can do a thorough job in 15 minutes.
Patches of ice and snow littered the ground as we left the house. Bjorn seemed amazingly optimistic, even though ahead of him lay the daunting task of beating yours truly.
I mean, come on, he is from Corvallis! He works with computers. That was not going to happen. I like Bjorn, heck of a polo player. But there was no way I was doing anything but winning.
This is the mantra going through my head as we move into town, chatting about is what to come, trying to figure out if my deficit in points could even be made up.....
Oh the Ash Street. Somewhere deep inside me is not a love of Ash Street Saloon, but more for the building. I used to eat there in the mid 80's, in fact that is where I bought my coffee beans.
Now it is the home to the "lowest common denominator", the young messenger.
And for the past month, these poor saps have been meeting here for a chance to win not only a days pay, but more importantly, Glory....
. All the usual suspects were there. Fox, in second overall, Dan, who has placed in a few of the races. Mason, who just won't give up.
He is such a dreamer, you have to love that. Carl from Car Free, and many more.
Scottie was of course there, having won all four weeks in a row. The cash was good, and he is pretty fast. I have thought about riding with him the whole way. During the West Side Alleycat, I rode the first half with him, through the NW, and felt strong.
But, my summer off has taken a toll on my speed, and the best bet was to go for the over all win, with all bonus points possible.
And tonight's would be a doozy, as Slackjaw pulled a fast one on me. After reading my blog, he learned of my dislike of the tire in Seattle, so he threw that in as one of the bonuses. Also he offered up 5 points per empty recyclable can (this was later contested, as Drew told some people about bonuses, and expanded on them for others, ie; double points for full cans,). And the safe delivery on one, unbroken egg.
There were also two bonus stops, The Brooklyn Bridge, that crosses the track to SE Powell, and NW Lovejoy Station stairwell.


7:00 came, and we were off. The manifests were available much ahead of time, something I do not think is so great. Part of the deal is routing, (notice Drew's great spelling. Do they have school in Yakima?) and more importantly, routing on the fly. Not staring at maps for a half hour ahead of time. On the move. Pick and choose.( This is my cheat sheet, and routing guide for the race)

It changes everything, but we all had a route picked out. I flew down Third Avenue, following Mason across downtown. I let him lead me out through the intersections, saving stress and energy. The lights time so well in this town.
We crossed over to First Avenue, across SW Arthur, and up to a left turn, basically dropping us at our first stop, the "Hooker Street Bridge", that takes pedestrians over SW Barbur Blvd. The clue there was "floor pump".
This stop puts you directly above what I can only describe as some sort of DMZ, with heavy things going really fast.
The Ross Island Bridge could not be less bike friendly. Tom followed me through here in an alleycat, and while I will admit I was trying to shake him off me a little, I was worried about him. He claimed that I was trying to kill him....
The approach is down a little, closed road for about 100 feet, then up and across the grass (read as mud hole). There is a very high curb to jump off of , which puts you right into oncoming bridge traffic, which you must ride through fast, in order to have the speed to merge with the east bound traffic, from the middle of the bridge.
The endorphine rush here is great, and needed for such a harrowing maneuver. Across the Ross Island bridge I go, now by myself. I had already lost my pen, so I pulled into a Shell station off SE Powell to borrow one.
I went into the office, which was empty, strangely. Good thing I am not a burglar, because I theived nothing but the crappiest pen on the desk.
When I left, the guy was walking up, I said thanks, for what he did not know, and rode off towards the tracks off Powell and 16th, and the Brooklyn bridge, where I know of a cut in the fence, that allows you to ride right down the tracks off Powell to the bridge. Here I wrote down the next clue "58176".
It wasn't far away to the next stop, The power box near the roses in the middle of Ladd's Addition. I saw some others who appeared to be looking for it, so I turned off my lights and snuck in, writing down "Sun Does Not Shine Here". The others never saw me, and were still nowhere near the clue when I rolled out quietly.
I took one of the sweet spokes of the wheel that is Ladd's Addition across to the Barley Mill to get an egg. How did I know I would get an egg here?
Dabby McCrashalot, son of a brilliant salesman. All you need is a pitch, as mine must have been great. I was even offered the cheat of a hard boiled egg, which I considered heavily. After deciding not to risk the past four weeks worth of work, I took the raw one and rolled off towards Laurelhirst Park. I was cheered as I ran out the door of the bar with my bike on my shoulder.
On a side note, I made the decision to get the egg early in my race. I had a plan to get an egg, and the cans from right across from the Ash Street, at the Chop House. Maggie is the Exec Chef, and an egg was a lock.
I decided to get it early, in order to keep myself in check and on task. I still had many chances to replace it, and the focus is exactly what I needed, ass the benches at Laurelhirst were dark as hell, and the clue wasn't going to find itself.
It was here I ran into Scottie, and I showed him where the clue was, He and I were running our races differently,and did not affect the others outcome at all. I realized at that point that I was on a fast pace, doing much better than I thought.
I wrote down the clue "Toxic Algae Bloom", and rolled off to the Hollywood library, which isn't far at all. "Fresh" was the clue, and did was how I was feeling, being about halfway through, and at the farthest most point in my journey.
Here I made another Crux Move, and headed back across NE, to Fremont, and the entrance to a big, undaunting behemoth.
I will let your imaginations talk for me, and just give you a clue.



The back side of this is a long, long downhill, and I was rollling it so fast that I was occasionally bucked up, and almost off, my bike.
And bunny hopping road debris on your track bike, basically at it's maximum speed, is down right scary.
I rolled fast and true up onto NW Vaughn, having been dropped mere blocks from my next clue.
Once again, the Monkey Park clue was hard to find, and Fox rolled up and helped me.
Drew had mentioned that if you finished on someone else bike, you got their points. I there was no advantage in Fox taking my bike, and pointed this out to him.
I did consider taking his bike and mine, throwing his over my shoulder. This would give me my points and his. Realizing I still had a chance to do this, as the next stop was not far away, at Lovejoy Station, by the Broadway bridge in NW.
On the way there, my friend called me up. I asked where she was, and luckily she was right on the East Side.
I asked her to meet me in her Jeep, so I could get her spare tire right at the finish line.
Crossing the NW can be fast and fun, and even though Fox left Monkey Park before me, I arrived at the next stop well ahead of him.
I still had to rally it up and run the stairs at Lovejoy, finally writing down the clue "Nate Owens". Fox and I here discussed whether this was a old clue, from the first week. I quickly pointed out that this was five winter weeks ago, and this stickers shows no age.
We rolled out and over the Steel bridge, for the clue that was on the East Side Esplanade. I wrote down the clue" Unionize", which appeared to be some sort of statement by Drew.
Back across the river, I started formulating my pitch for cans, as what I was planning is not exactly legal by OLCC standards.
An unmentioned bar, now my new best friends, sold me $5 dollars worth of recycling. I actually procured 130 some cans this way, at 5 points each. Down the street with my goods, I met Karen at the bar, pulled the spare tire off her car, and rallied into the Ash Street, my hands full.
I began setting stuff down, and racking up points. The egg came out of my bag, fully intact. This was certainly going to be the case anyway, what with my positive mental attitude. Did I say mental?
I counted out my cans, and only got credit for 126 of them. Somehow , Slackjaw's math added it up to 236 points, but luckily C Murder was there to straighten him out.
I got fourth place in the main race, and all possible bonuses. It didn't seem that here would be any way for me to lose.
Of course controversy reared it's ugly head when Drew claimed that Fox was the only one to get one of the clues right.
Bjorn and I quickly took care of that, and Casey handled the supposed "Double Points" for full cans, which Slackjaw claimed to , but never did announce. ( he just told who he wanted to win, apparently. I was warned by many that he was going to do everything in his power to make it harder for me to win. He obviously does not understand my resolve.)
Scottie won the main race again, taking home a trophy and a handful of cash.
I ended up getting first in the series by 45 points, securing the big trophy, with Bjorn ,then Fox trailing me. (Dabby Wins It Big!)

All in all, it was a great series. A few gray areas here and there, where it should be black and white, but over time, Slackjaw will develop his races.
I am waiting for the Stairmaster Race, next Sat. the 20th, 1:00, at the Vern in SE.
El Dupe thinks he is going to take that one, and I have helped to propagate that rumor. Leave's me nicely in the shadows to sneak up and win it for myself.......
One more thing;
I am happy to announce that my father, having had a stroke and an anuerism on Tuesday, has made a fabulous recovery.
My family supports me in what I do, no matter how much it and I may frustrate them. This is what you call "unconditional love", and I am the lucky recipient of such.
(This pic of my dad is weird. My young neice Lilly took it on my birthday.)

These are the final results in the Series:

1Dabby 1385
2.Bjorn 1340
3Fox 850
4Scott 500
5Chaz 445
6Dan 385
7Dave335
8Mason 325
9Brady 300
10Sean 205
11Jen 195
12Gary 195
13Carl 160
14Danger 155
15Ian 145
16Scott K 140
17Lelah 115
18Andrew 55
19Emma 50
20Reda
21Maty 50
22Matt 50
23Amanda50
24Jacob
25George 50

Race Five Winners
1Scott
2Dan
3Chaz
4Dabby
5Bjorn
6Fox
7Mason DNF (But did more Backwards Circles than all y'all)
8Carl DNF
9Sean DNF
10Jacob DNF
11Amanda DNF
12George DNF



Fox

Dan

Chaz

Slackjaw

1 comment:

R. Kelley said...

How about a post on Snow Day...you can't be that busy...oh yeah and congrats on your nomination for the Alice B. Toeclips award. We're all so proud of you.