Friday, April 3, 2009

Remember Your First Race?

Read this over at Fyxomatosis. I love these stories...and the best part is everyone's got one...


I can remember parts of my first alleycat.
I'd heard from another courier during the week that there was a 'race'.
The next day I got a scrap piece of paper which have rough details of the event.

Meet at the Duke of York, Friday 7pm.

Pretty Boy wore a blonde wig. I didn't know him, but I'd sold him a pair of handlebars, and he was one of the riders who could REALLY ride back then. He was one of the VERY few brakeless couriers. So few that you could name them all in the same breath. I rode my carbon Giant MCM team mountain bike. I had niteriders blaring for the occasion thinking it'd help.
I'd never heard of the first checkpoint in Camden (well I had but couldn't understand the organiser so just followed wheels)

It was the first time I'd really split an intersection, while trying to hold the wheel of a pack of 20 motley riders doing the same. Drafting wheels in the dark, darting across streeting, dodging potholes.
Horns honked, in the darkness oncoming headlights stole my vision, and my heart had never raced so hard.

After a number of checkpoints, and tasks at each, including telling funny stories, drawing pictures on oneself, shots of brandy, climbing fences it was the home stretch.

Marco and Andrea were talking tactics in Italian so I couldn't understand them as we hurled up City rd together in the dark. I figured they were planning on dropping me so I thwarted them by punching the last climb up to Essex rd and left them in my wake.
Riding into traffic never felt so good....
I hugged Cuba at the end, a euphoric sense of arrival came over me from living through my first alleycat.
Young, dumb, and feelin' invincible. I wouldn't change a thing.
There were no forums, websites or the like to promote these 'races'. It was word of mouth and ultimately this meant a BIG race was 20-30 people, and only couriers.
Even couriers didn't know about them unless they hung out at the 'spot' or knew other couriers that knew couriers that knew. Know what I mean?
There was maybe a handful of events over that summer. Not one every other week.
Alleycats weren't even a blip on the radar.

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