It's happening. I never thought it would, but it's happening. When I first started riding people asked me about racing and I thought it silly. Racing was always something I thought that took itself too seriously, besides paying to ride a bike is kind of silly. Then I got turned onto underground racing and I'm hooked.
It started with a mondo alleycat, the Endless Summer of Slaughter last weekend in Oakland. 5 checkpoints, one of them way up in the hills, and the rest spread apart a large swath of the East Bay. This was my first alleycat so I had no idea what to expect. From the start point we were sent to some park I've never heard of so I followed the crowd, who followed by getting lost. My Garmin saved the day getting me back on course to the first "checkpoint" (really it was where the manifests were, so this could arguably be checkpoint 6). I looked at the manifest. I knew where all of them were except one. That one was on Harbor Way, so I figured it must be by the water, I'm sure I'd figure it out, so off I went to nab the other checkpoints.
The first checkpoint was up Castle Drive, a steep steep road that was a workhorse to get up (I felt bad for anyone on track bikes at that point). Once I hit the first checkpoint I split up from the people I was following, figuring I knew where I was going. I mashed to the first checkpoint after surviving the terrifying Thornhill descent. I danced to some Mariah Carey then was off the next point in Marin. Again I blazed through and was feeling great on my legs. Despite knocking down the checkpoint hosts bike I drank some plastic vodka and got back on it toward Albany Hill.
The downhill grade had me flying out to Albany Hill. I got some cat make up then started bombing back down when I blew a flat. I changed it very quickly (I guess all those flats last summer on tour taught me something) and got back going. Now it was a flat sprint to the Bay Bridge. This would be where my energy started to wane, especially getting up onto the bridge in the face of a gnarly headwind. I checked in and then it was off to Harbor Way. I tried my GPS. No luck. I tried everything I could on that thing. I tracked up and down the Bay, nothing. I was lost. I had to stop in West Oakland to get my bearings. That stopping was what killed me. My stomach started cramping, my legs didn't feel like moving. I had plenty of time, but really had no clue where the final checkpoint was and called it quits.
A DNF after such a hardy ride absolutely sucked. I should have been smarter and figured out all the checkpoints first, but I got antsy at the first checkpoint trying to figure it out. Oh well, maybe next time. I'm just impatient and don't want to wait a year for the next Summer of Slaughter.
(Also, I've stopped taking pictures of late, maybe I'll get back into that soon)