by dances with cars
Mercury Rising, Issue #9, December 1993
why did i go to race? i know myself and i hate official anythings. ifa happening is going on and there are more than three american cardinalprinciples:
I) LIFE don't get killed
II) LIBERTY be cool
III) PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS da then iím not having fun.
so much to tell and so little prose. iíll let the others draw you apicture of the gathering, lets rap about the race. awickawickawickiwick
the first thing i noticed was the amazing difference between the europeanand north american riders. we were messengers and they were dorks withvinyl backpacks. well, most of them. some were cool. some were fuckiníhuge. and some were beautiful. attitude was what it was all about, though.we had it and. they, most definitely, did not. well, most of them. butanyway, hereís the deal with the race.
DAY ONE: THE PRELIMINARIES!!!!!
7 heats of 60 riders in each one, one of those being just for our morefeminine compatriots. i get to the race place and iím in major dislikeof the situation. i enjoy sports like your average feller and i dig a littlerace downtown once in a while, but for fun. when i was a kid i loved pickup football games, but when it became the army in high school i no longerexcelled. it ternít fun no mo. BANG! wait not yet. We were all standingaround trying to listen to the loud speaker until we figured out that theywere speaking german. the racers included: your humble narrator, mr. boom,mark (the ultimate grunger dude from pelican), top bike mike rivas, ericzo, michael studabaker marketere muskatere, victor the absurd, andrew fromspeedway (sf's real number uno), and iím sad to say none of our littlelovelies had enough room to bring their bikes. oh ya, rich parte was infrance.
BANG boom boom boom was in the first heat and what a major bummer thatwas. this was when the organizers began learning that the race design suckeda really long one. 60 riders going as hard as they can towards a bunchof fold out tables with stacks of manila envelopes on top. on top, initially.as soon as the first rider got there the envelopes were all over the place,shortly followed by the riders being all over the place. this was my firstlesson, get out of the gate as quickly as possible and don't go down. thenext stop was about 50 ft away on the other side of the road. thatís wherethe tubes were lying in wait, my fate in their phallic little hands. igrabbed. my package, was off and was lookiní good near the front of thepack. if you'll notice in picture 1, andrew (with helmet) is in front ofme. i stowed away my cargo and cut my throat. in purpose to be as quickas possible i failed to strap the tube into my bag. so here I was blastingdown one of the smoothest roads I've ever encountered, high speed man,heading towards the first obstacle when it falls out. the fuckiní tubefalls out. well, yes, my heart sank, but i kept my wits and resolve. icircled back and WHOOOSH, everyone starts passing me. i get that tube andstrap the fucker in.
now, most unfortunately i had to cut through the pack. this is wherei really noticed a european defect. these boys, well most of them, couldn'tbunny hop to save their job. killer bikes, some very expensive bikes frcmthere as well as here, but dude, they sucked. i almost went down goingover the first set of 4 wood cargo flats, set up so that if one had enoughspeed and skill one could hop all 4, which i did on my second lap, legs,wheels, riders, and tubes everywhere every place through that part of therace, i escaped unscathed and dashed towards my next labor. a good clickof a sprint and its time to play who can puke first we had to run. we hadto put our bikes down (not lock them or any messengerly thing like that)no, just threw them down and ran. down a flight of steps, you went, downa corridor about 100 yds. long, up more stairs, drop the envelope (getthe receipt), back down the steps, down the football field, up the steps,and back on the bike and more high adventure. the next feat we had to performwas to (oh, by the way this is the only time it rained during the preliminaries,during this part of my race, the third heat) jump off a ramp and then,if you had enough speed you could bunny hop over another wood cargo flat.here was the second learned lesson, stay away from any vinyl bag over thejumps. those boys were deadly, no control whatsoever, one of them landingon his head was the cause of rivasí restart. during all of this, of course,i had no idea how many riders passed me and what place i was or anythinglike that. to qualify, one had to finish in the top 20 of each heat. thefirst 10 went to the A final and 11-20 qualified for the B final, whichwas the same except the Aís had a three minute head start. but, if youwere fast enough to catch up and then finish first you could still be thechamp. so anyway, i pass people on the jump, over the obstacles, and evenon the turns, they took them wide. the tube was dropped when you pickedthe right gate to go through. you matched the number on the tube with theone on the gate dropped it off and got a piece of cheese (not really) inmy dazed state i forgot this little detail and just went into the mostuncrowded gate. i guess esp was in gear, however, because i had no problemswith the officials . everything was done twice, but some had to do it 4times, iíll let rivas tell that story. somehow i ended up finishing 16in the race, fateful i thought, it being my number at work and all. NOT
now remember when andrew was ahead of me at the beginning of the raceand how i dropped my tube near the beginning? well, he finished 10 andi caught up to 16 so anyway....i make it to the final and i didn't overtakethe A pack, i did catch some though. the final was more of the game witha hell of a lot more riding in between, 20 km. to be exact, as well asan egg and a quick tire tube change thrown in for laughs. but win or loseafter the race we were all hot and sweaty with a shit load of reportersand photographers willing to oblige our bruised egos.
If you have comments or suggestions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org