Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Friday Alley Cat - January 10

January’s First Friday found me planning it due to my win in December due to a small field of participants. I was not hopeful for a large race this time around especially after the couple of inches of snow fall the day before.

Leading up to the race I took about an hour riding around downtown putting a sticker with a number on 25 different bike poles for the race. I arrived at The Door to find it unusually busy, there was some companies holiday party happening at the same time. I pulled up a stool at the crowded bar next to Matt and Steven and began to drink.

The race was based on a bingo card that I had made up for the racers. The card listed all the numbers in the squares and it was up to the racers to ride around a concentrated area of downtown and find the numbered stickers. Once a sticker was found the racer had to jot down the associated street address on the manifest. The person with the most bingos/points wins. Pretty easy, but took a whole lot of pre-planning and will not be in my top list of alley cats to run again. I wanted an easy race for a change as the past few months of races have included some semi long treks. It also played in favor with the winter weather we had experienced.

Soon the time to start drew near and Matt, Capt Jake and a brand new racer were all that there was. After explaining the rules to them I let the go for an hour worth of rummaging through the winter mess while I sat and enjoyed beer and eventually shots. A few messengers I hadn’t seen in a while showed up and conversations began. After a while Capt. Jake came back and needed a pen as he had lost his. He headed back out into the cold after some jeers. The new racer showed up 15 minutes early and I told him to get back out there and find more.

After another 15 minutes they all arrived at close to the same time and I went through and tallied up the points. No one had received a bingo so it was strictly points based. Each square was worth a certain number of points and that was determined by how far I had placed them from the bar. In the end Matt had won but since both of us would not be in town for the next race we left it up to the new guy, who took second to plan the race. I fear that no one will show up for that as lately Matt or my self have been 1 of 3 racers…but time will tell.

Instead of racing for February’s First Friday, somehow I seem to miss or come close to missing the races in February, Matt and I will be in Minneapolis for the 13th annual installment of Stupor Bowl.

For those that are unaware, Stupor Bowl is one of the longest running alley cats in the country and is slated to be the toughest. Always set for the weekend of the Super Bowl it finds it’s self in the middle of the Twin Cities hellish winter. Last years race brought in around 400 people! The majority of the past races have been single digit or sub zero temperature affairs and from what I have heard if the temperature is above 0 the planners get irate due to the slack mother nature allows the participants.

This will be my first time doing this race and the first in a list of larger messenger races in different cities. It will also be my first time in Minnesota so I expect poor results. I plan on following people who know the city better than I do to at least give me the chance to complete it with in the time frame. Stupor Bowl is notorious for it’s name sake. Along with the usual fastest male/female/messenger/non-messenger/out of towner/etc, they also have a second race that takes place at the same time whose goal is to crown the Stupor Champ. The Stupor Champ is the person who hits all of the designated stops and has at least 1 drink at each, the drunkest racer to finish with in the time limit wins. From the photos I have seen of past Stupor Champs I am not even close to being able to attempt this stunt. Some of these people are professionals in both drinking and biking and they are so loaded they can barely stand. Fun times abound!!

My excitement for the race is building as it nears and it will be both and adventure and a lesson in my abilities. Luckily Matt’s parents live in a suburb west of downtown that we can stay with so the trip should be minimal in the way of expenses, and Matt has some knowledge of the city. Soon I’ll have a understanding of it too, in the meantime I’m studying the map of downtown to try to get it under control. Sub-zero Minnesota insanity…here I come.

Here is a post I lifted off of a current thread for this months race to help shed some light on the insanity of it all; “Last year was my first year for this race. I didn't drink the entire race but some how managed to get plastered at the after party. Long story short, woke up the next day with the previous night's dinner on my face and all over my friend's closet.”

I can’t wait!!

http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=all&q=stupor+bowl+12&m=text for images from last years race.

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