Monday, November 07, 2005

Messenger Criterium

I caught wind of a messenger bike race taking place this weekend. Instead of being a tupical messenger alleycat race though, it was in done in criterium format. The idea was that everyone would chip in $5, and the winner would get sponsored by a local bike shop in the Land Park Criterium race next Spring, which takes place in Sacramento. The city has a pretty small messenger group, so they have a very inclusive attitude toward other bikers from the community. I decided just to watch in stead of race, for a couple of reasons. 1) Since light rail opened up, I’ve gotten very little miles in, so I wouldn’t have much kick. 2) I would have been the only one with a geared bike, so I would have had to tape the shifters down to be fair. 3) I didn’t have any need for the prize. I don’t need another jersey, and don’t have time for the personal trainer. Overall, I thought the prize would mean a lot more to one of the messengers, since they make a fraction of the money I do. In the end though, I totally regret not racing it; as did everyone else who decided just to watch.

Racing. A late entry. Lovingly giving support for his wife, the lone female racer.

The original race sight had to be changed because there was an actual sanctioned foot race taking place at the park. Luckily some of my friends got there earlier, and swung by my place on the way to the new location. We ended up going to a place in West Sac that used to be an abandoned golf course, but is now suffering from major housing development. The course was approximately 1 mile back and forth down a four lane road, looping around the medium. This put a hair pin turn on each end; which made it a challenge since everyone was riding fix gears. The mood was really set for the event when someone whipped out a can of spray paint to put down the start/finish line across the road. The race started off with an informal “go” calmly stated by the organizer. I thought that a guy from work was going to win it easily, since he’s a regular cyclo-cross racer. He pulled the first 9 laps, but a couple of messengers had a little more bite than their appearance lead on. Despite there being two body types amongst them; drunk, and slightly overweight, or drunk and super, super, skinny, they pulled it out, with three of them passing in the final stretch. Fun day, unfortunately this probably going to be the last race for the, um , “season.”

After the race, a bunch of us went to someone’s house to grill out. It was quite the mix background of people, ranging form messengers whose main concern is getting enough deliveries in the week to pay for beer, to a married couple with kids, to the young professionals such as myself. Overall, a really nice group. It was more interesting that some of these people were the same ones that totally pissed me off a few months back at a Critical Mass ride. Just goes to show how different situations bring out different sides of people.

Game of "foot-down" and other random fixie trickier taking place in the middle of the street. Everyone made room for cars when ever they came buy, yet you could tell the drivers were unthrilled with all these bikes in the street

Unfortunately, I had to head out early to make it to my Dodgeball game.


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