August 9, 2008

Death Race Recap

The Lake Street Death Race took place yesterday. we had four helmet cams in action one on Landon, one on Landon's Bro, I had one on the front and one facing rear. Haven't gotten a chance to look at any of the footage yet but I'm optimistic that there's some good stuff.

So here's how the race went down from my perspective:

All day I had butterflies in my stomach and I felt incredibly guilty for encouraging anyone to participate in such a dangerous race. Honestly I was scared. This race was a very unsafe proposition.

I rounded up some helmet cams at work, met Kevin (Bike Jerks official video guy and tech guru) before the race to sort them out and we were off to the library for the start around 6:10.

Twelve racers signed up, including one recumbent and we packed the curb at Lake and Hen waiting for a red light, once the light turned all the racers lined up in the crosswalk across the whole breadth or Lake Street facing East. On the green we were off and I got off to a slow start but soon found myself third from the front, within a few more blocks it was Landon, Graff (skinny kid on a Surly and a Bike Jerks hat), and myself at the front. I was starting to worry that I wouldn't be able to shake Landon, and it would end in sprint for the line. Graff didn't worry me as the kid is new to alleycats and I figured he couldn't hang with the big boys.

Just out of uptown and in the lead I managed to squeeze through a changing light right before the crossing cars started zipping through the intersection and when I looked back the only rider with me was Graff. I kicked it down and prepared to lose the kid, but he hung tight the whole way through South Minnie. At one point we even snuck between two parked cop cars who were almost completely blocking the East going lane.

Looking back Graff had started to yo yo a bit and was no longer on my side the whole time. I sensed that he was hurting as much as I was, and believe me I was hurting the whole way. This race was a fucking sprint and my old lungs and tired legs were not exactly thrilled with this endeavor.
So he was about 10 to 20 yards back when we hit a mild hill a few blocks before you get to Hiawatha. As soon as I saw the hill I decided I was going to break my chaser, I got out of the saddle and launched a sprint up and over the hill. He wasn't able to follow my move and the next time I was able to look back I put about a block on him.

I knew that if I got through the Hiawatha intersection clean I was golden, and my roomate Matt was even there with a PBR in hand to cheer me on. A police car was waiting for the light under Hiawatha and I wasn't sure how to handle it, but 20 yards from the intersection it went green and I flew by the parked cruiser. I was pretty confident the race was won but I continued full on for the last section to the river, not wanting to be done in by hubris. By the time I reached Jay I had about four blocks on Graff, and I was excited to have made some beer money for the weekend.

it was an awesome race and I want to send my respect to Graff for the strong second place showing, expect more from this kid in the future. And thanks for representing in your bike jerks gear.

I think the whole race only took about 9 or 10 minutes and the video should be coming soon.
Watch for it.

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