Sunday, April 16, 2006
A˜s part of my reolution to enjoy all the uniquely New York things before I leave, I went to DUMBO this Saturday to race. This was my fourth messenger race and each one has had its unique challenges. Unlike other races that I've done, I had no freaking clue where any of the stops were because I DON'T KNOW DUMBO! Neither did anyone else though, so that made it kind of interesting. It was a lot of follow the leader...on cobblestones. I'll break it down thusly:
The start was in Brooklyn Bridge Park, right on the water smack between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Lots and lots of people with all kinds of abilities some first timers, some people on cruisers, a couple of tall-bike Black Label types. I also got briefly interviewed by some lady doing a segment for HDNet. I registered, got my manifest, spoke-card and t-shirt and then spent the next 40 minutes puzzling over the manifest. I knew one of the addresses, only becuase it was in Manhattan. After futzing with a map that didn't show any of the streets I was looking for, I knew one other stop. I resolved then, like most people did, to find someone who actually did know what the hell they were doing.
It was a 50 yard dash LeMans start. Most people had clipless pedal shes and messenger bags, which made a kind of clippity cloppity rustling sound as we all ran in a pack to our bikes. I got my bike and started pedaling like a motherfucker in the general direction of the first stop. Everyone in the lead pack had track bikes and were jumping up onto the sidewalks in order to avoid the cobblestones. I made the mistake a few times of trying to pass people by jumping off the sidewalk and powering through the cobbles. The cobbles in DUMBO are far worse than those in Soho. My balls are still jiggling.
I eventually found two guys to follow who seemed to know where they were going. We got lost a bunch of times, but I sure as hell wouldn't have been able to figure it out on my own. Both of the guys, Alex and Pablo had track bikes with no brakes they were, well...bold in intersections. The both had some pretty exceptional BO (I was no lilly myself) and when I drafted behind them I was in a slipstream of pure armpit. I was too tired not to.
The checkpoints were all different. One of them made us do 10 pushups (go man-tits go!) before they would sign our manifest another had us answer trivial pursuit questions, and yet another, situated at the top of an enourmously steep hill just had us give em' a high five.
On an uphill, some guy passed in between me and a row of parked cars. He got too close, thwacked me on my back with his shoulder and I went down going all of about 7 miles per hour. Scraped my palm, elbow and knee on the pavement, my jeans, only one day old, got ripped. The guy who thwacked me acknowleged he was at fault and apologized. Shit happens.
That was the second to last stop. I made up for lost time by screaming down the cobbles and passing all of the people who had passed me because of my fall and got back to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Once there, I turned in my manifest and was given a new one. I had just raced 12 ball-busting miles, both guys I was following were long gone and I my knee was starting to smart. I threw in the towel and biked back to Williamsburg to have beers with Laura and Kristine. It was a damned good time. Had I not been a little better this week about not drinking so much and exercising more, I would have actually finished the freaking race and enjoyed it a little better. Perhaps next week.