Monday, February 05, 2007

Operation Meow: Race Recap

This is where I write up a big ol' detailed race report..

Okay.. so where to start..
When you last heard from me, I was as hyped as could be, exploding with energy, at the thought of the race. I'm not even sure why I was so excited. I don't get nearly as excited about regular alleycats. I guess I just saw this as more fun, less messenger bravado.

Morgan and I rolled to Victory square for 5:30. There we met up with Members of the MC3, RAD, Kablamo, and a whole bunch of other cyclists. We hung out there for a couple hours actually, as we were still waiting on the Portlanders to arrive in their Biodiesel bus. We received confirmation that they were on their way via text, so the start of the race was postponed.

I saw a couple old faces at Victory square too. I wasn't expecting them so in a way it was kind of nice. Everyone grew antsy. Some were cold. Mini laps started being run around the statue at the square. Everyone took a spin on the Projekt-B kittenchopper.

Jackie and I get our war faces on:

..and another shot of Jackie's hot ride:

Average wheel diameter of 15":

Nick B's Kuwahara has mags AND a handlebar for a seatpost:

Haley's modded mini:

Nigel's Ultramini (big ring, handlebar post):

Ifny (Alleykitten queen) is ready for action:

There is a 'best dressed' contest, and a mini footdown derby while we wait. I practice standard rituals to calm my nerves. I absolutely cannot wait to get into traffic. Finally, the Portlanders arrive, and we rejoice! They find bus parking, and we all line up for the start of the race. I guess its about 7:30 at this point. The Pre-race tension is now very high. Everyone is super hyped and ready to roll.

We get our maps to the first checkpoint, and this is where things start to become a blur...
On your marks, get set.. .and GO!

[I'll try to recall the events of the race in Chronological order, as they went screaming through my head]

Mini traffic BLASTS on to Hastings street, heading westbound. We stop a BMW in its tracks.I accelerate past a lot of people, and see my only real competition. Nick B.

I time the light at Hastings and Homer, riding the yellow line to get around a bus and car that are stopped. I reel in Nick, getting a feel for his top speed. I think he's got some RPM on me with the shorter cranks, and all the track racing experience. Also, his bike probably weighs a third of mine... but I've got a bigger gear. We exchange pleasantries as I pass him, ..and I decide not to check him to the curb.

Okay.. I'm heading to the underground at Burrard/Cordova.. I can handle this..
The light at Seymour is red and there are cars coming through, so I go right with them and merge over to the left lane. I start to second guess myself. This is a bad move. I just lost a bunch of altitude. I scream past the taxis waiting at the lights in front of Waterfront station, and blow the following two lights to get to the ramp. As I go down the cut that takes me underground that self doubt creeps in again.. What if I've already past the checkpoint?.. I'm going too fast down this ramp!

I see the bikers around the bend, lock up the rear, and report for Beer Prime duty.
Fuck yeah! Winning back our own beer! ..and this means I'm in the lead.

I do a shot, and possibly some pushups? I cant remember. but I got a new mission.
Upsidedown church in coal harbour.. I know where that is.. But why do I have to run up the stairs? wouldn't the ramp be faster? Not wanting to miss anything, I run up the stairs, and see 3-button-Lefttennant-pastor Maitland reading scripture. I address him as Sir and try to understand what the Mini Bike army is Offical doing (Sir! This is engrish sir! What is the Mini Bike army official doing SIR?!) Maitland tries not to laugh, and continues reading scripture aloud. I realize his gig is to stall people. I say fuck it, grab a MiniBikeArmy pin, and head back to Checkpoint #1, taking the ramp and getting my skid on past some racers heading out to see Maitland.

Back at checkpoint #1 there is a small crowd of racers, doing their shots. I confirm the purpose of the minibike army is to distract racers through nonsensical scripture and distribute buttons. They ask me what colour his bible was.. Red? good.

New map from Adam.. somewhere in the west end. I'll go down Burrard and read it as I go.

I must have lost some time here, going south on Burrard. I worried that I should have doubled back and gone west once I got to street level. Too late now. Just hustle. Robson/Burrard is always a treat, and I time it close enough to blast through the intersection as the yellow turns pink. I've got a pedestrian buffer here, so I'm not worried about getting killed.

Where do I turn.. Haro? wheres that? Around the Paramount? I better go West.. As it turns out, I take the street that becomes Haro, though it probably added a few meters to trip.

..who's there when I arrive? its Nick B.. eating Gruel.

Sgt. Skylar is a Sadistic fucker, and makes us privates sit down and eat two heaping spoonfuls of gruel from our open hands. After that, we may take a War card from the garden, and our new map.

I leave at the same time as Nick and go North back to Robson. I think about how I should have taken ALL of the war cards I saw... apparently I'm no good at cheating. It seems I'm going to somewhere near the art gallery.

Approaching Robson and Burrard, this time I have to stop. I wait at the front of line, ready to go.. scanning around me to look for Nick. Perpendicular Yellow means its time to go! I stop a hesitant left turner and sprint past the megastore towards the gallery.

Crossing Thurlow I'm hit with the bottleneck of Robson traffic, so I ride the yellow line again, and cut as hard left as my long wheelbase will allow. I narrowly make it through the gap in front of a slow moving compact car and hop the curb towards the Gallery's South steps. As I roll past the entrance I scan down the stairs to the ice rink to see if they're there.. Nope..

I see the checkpoint across the street.. thankfully there is no traffic so I cross mid block, to report for duty with the lovely CorporAlicia. She whips me with my own riding crop, and sends me underground to search for Army men in an envelope. I hit the ramp with the quickness, veer right, then slow my roll.

All low light and peripheral scanners are on max now. No traffic to distract me here.. I'll find these envelopes.. Anything that catches my eye becomes a target.. but its all trash. I continue searching south.. until I catch up with some Bigwheelers.. its Kati, Kim and Simon. I politely ask WTF SIR!?!?! Kati tells me to go back to the first pillar.

As I do this, I find Nick.. we're searching the area together, and find a sketchy dude who tells us where to find more pylons. I SAID I'M LOOKING FOR ARMY MEN! I sift through more garbage. My scanners failed. I failed to look up to the right height. I overturn pylons. The envelope was in front of me the whole time. I grab my army man, note that Nick is looking in the other direction, and I take off.

Morgan has passed the pillar and is descending too far.. so I quietly tell him to double back and look on the pillar. I see him turn a quick tryke-180 in my peripheral. Surely that will tip Nick off.

At the south end of the underground, I see Sascha. They take my army man, and give me the next map.
I'm going to Beatty street at Dunsmuir. I can handle that.

Nelson to Granville street crosswalk skid, scaring pedestrians and cutting off a taxi. Through the one way at Smithe, gapping traffic. I pass cars on Granville.. oh yeah, they let cars on granville now. Hitting Robson, I go right, on the side of at turning car.. I get in front, and take the left lane. I make my left onto Seymour, and stick to the door zone of the leftmost parked cars until I find a gap to move right. I work it up the hill and get on Georgia. There I start to claim the lane, but realize how slow traffic is going.. There are the big wheelers! Kati, Kim, and Simon appear stationary to me at the Library as I pass them, splitting the left and centre lane down Georgia as fast as my gearing will allow. They yell something at me. .. I hope they're not my next checkpoint. I would hate to have to wait for them.

I fall in behind a black F-350 that is making the left turn at Beatty. A cop is blowing his whistle.. there must be a game on. I grab his bumper and he accelerates hard up Beatty. Skitching seems dicey here, because this guy seems like he could be looking for somewhere to park his truck. He pulls me right up to the tank, where I disengage, and hop the crub, reporting to Major Aiyana for my next mission..

They make me do 20 pushups...which was no problem.. my helmet touched the ground on each one. Then the hard part, I have to raise my bike over head while they take a photo. I scream at Aiyana. SIR DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH MY BIKE WEIGHS SIR?!?! Then.. I have to climb the tank, straddle the barrel, and kiss the kitten (not at the same time).. I then slide down the front of the tank and recieve my next map.

National and Quebec.. Shit. Viaduct or tinseltown!?!?!

I choose viaduct, hoping that I might skitch on a truck. As I roll out west, claiming the right lane, I sort through my pockets to find the maps.. I should have thrown out the old ones before, as this made for some confusion. Someone honks at me from behind.. and with one map in my mouth, I crumple the other map and throw it at his car. He continues honking and buzzes past me. Changing lanes isn't so hard now is it?

Down the ramp and into a big skid in between a truck and the jersey barrier. I double back and go east to Quebec. The light just changes in my favour and I hit it to National.

Fuck. No bikers. I search around the parking lot.
Nick B arrives (surprise), and he cannot find them either. Thinking that the parking lot is a terrible place for a checkpoint, I head in to the playground, booting it across the grass, hopping into the mulch, dropping the bike and reporting for duty with Sgt Leanne. She tells me to take my bike around the slide and report to Colonel N1ck.

"Private you are going to cyclocross that tank up the hill to come address me!"

Shit. This thing weighs a tonne right now. I cannot run up the hill. I just make sure my footing is stable on the wet grass.

Dumping the bike and my bag, I roll down the hill to the obstacle course. I try to jettison myself into the air each roll to not only minimize the grass stains, but to get more distance per revolution and not disorient myself. Through the gauntlet and the maze house.. which I could barely get my shoulders through. There Sgt Leanne makes me do another 20 pushups in the mud, and drink a shot.. I cannot recall which order those were in.. then crawl back up the hill towards N1ck.

N1ck - "Have you had enough yet Private?!!"


N1ck - "Get out of my sight, maggot!"

I mount my tank for the last time and blast down the embankment I just hiked up, and make an all out sprint for the finish.. Too scared to look back and see Nick, I just hammer.

I report to Simon at 108W 1st.. and thats it. I'm done. 35 minutes.

Apparently my crying routine at the last checkpoint saved me from having to eat a raw onion. I'm pretty stoked about that.

I then went in and started scrubbing the grease paint that Skylar had so liberally applied to my face. Industrial kitchen degreaser works well, but it hell on the pours. At the party I got my trickcycle on, attempted drifts for Sailor's camera, track stand tricks on Morgan's bike, and some minibike derby action. I worked at the bar for a bit too, and it was fun getting people trashed.

There was an awards ceremony, where I received a dope modded mini frame from Skylar, and a cute as nails trophy from KTJ. I also took the cash... which should come in handy modifying the kittenchopper for zoobomb duty in a couple of weeks.

I gave the Beer to the Portlander's simply because I already had more than enough booze, and they made such an effort to get out here.. DID I MENTION THE BUS IS BIODIESEL! BRILLIANT!

I should also mention that there were performances by 2 of the Sprockettes:


Brakes (featuring Little Woo):

..and Brakes featuring some B:C:Clettes in a dance off:

..and headlining were Victoria's Velo Vixens. OMG.

I guess I maintained a good level of drunk all evening, because I wasn't too far gone by the time my energy reserves were depleted. Rhiannon on the other hand was a saucy drunk bitch, but that made for good times as well.

Seriously fun weekend all around...and as a bonus, My Gmail is now giving me Kitten related advertising:

Shut Down Bonsai Kitten - - You can help shut them down by signing the petition now!


nikcee said...

first up... major propsicles from me for the win! there was some very serious racing going on out there.

i was waaaaay pleased to finish only minutes out from lyle, given the dilapidated state of my bike and my lack of preparation. not saying i could have tangled with the top 3 though...

one thing i've learnt from alleycatting is that you should constantly review your route on course, and after the race theres no point arguing routes. what worked for you may not have helped another... eg my use of the BC place stairs would have sucked for lyle, but was good for cara/ifny.

it was an amazingly well run race... great course and checkpoints and some hilarious people to race around the city on little bikes with.

kati j said...

omg you guys are amazing!!! ifny and gabe were bummed they weren't in the standings (they were previous winners), but ya'll seriously BROUGHT IT. And the trophy design must be attributed to Simon Little, AKA mr. amazing.


BikeCraft said...

uh ya! it was rad. go project b a force to be reckoned with yo. all round good times - cara