Cycling Road 1:49:07 14.25 mi (7:39 / mi) +142m 7:26 / mi
Few Gears Eve Alley Cat
Met CB at Omnium Bike shop for manifest at 7pm. The manifest listed 7 bars in St. Paul. The names were scrambled, so first we had to unscramble the names, and negotiate with other racers for help. The event was like a score O' -- we had to visit each bar in any order -- but only one was the finish and you didn't know which one. At each bar we picked up a Scrabble piece which could be played at the finish to make a single word and resulting scrabble score -- and corresponding special prize for best scrabble word score. You could also have a drink at each bar which was worth 2 minutes off your total race time, so there was potential to deduct 14 minutes off time by boozing (which I did not do).
Because of the forecast for rain and snow, I told CB I would ride until the roads started getting slippery. But the roads never did get slippery. It started to rain just before we got on the bikes at 7:15. I contemplated rain gear, but the rain was very light and I didn't want to get overheated so I waited. We made a couple stops in the Selby/Dale area, then headed downtown to Kelly's. A Wild game was just starting to let out as we passed the Xcel center, but not a big deal. We dropped into Lowertown to visit Kellys -- which we learned was the finish. At that point I knew I wasn't going to finish the race because we had a big loop to do through the city, all of which was to the west. I was now starting to get wet, and knew I would not want to circle the city, come back downtown and then ride back home on the NW edge of town -- especially after running at Afton earlier in the day. Anyhoo, we now headed to Goby's (next to Plums at Snelling and Randolph) in Highland.
We went back past the Xcel center where the streets were flooded with hockey fans. It looked like it could be bad for us, but we seemed to pass through at just the right moment and were quickly headed down Fort Road with all the Hockey fans in their cars (although one of the traffic cops yelled at us for biking down the closed roads in front of the Xcel center).
CB and I got separated at a stop light on the long ride down west 7th. He told me to keep going and he would catch up. I charged ahead and got to Gobys before him. I was now thoroughly soaked. I was not uncomfortably cold, but my back and rear were cold from the rain off my back tire (note to self: attach fender for rainy rides). Since CB was not there yet, I changed into my rain gear. When I was changed he was still not there, so I called him. He didn't really know where we were going and had gone into Highland village area, so I redirected him over the phone and waited another few minutes.
As we left Gobys and headed north on Snelling to University Ave and Big V's, the rain started to turn to ice. It didn't change the ride on the road, but it did sting the cheeks as it blew into my face. By the time we left Big Vs big snowflakes were falling. We headed west to Tracks bar at University and Prior.
From Tracks we had one more stop at Teds bar near Lexington and Larpentaur. This meant heading north into driving snow for a couple miles. It was difficult for me to see anything as giant snow flakes pelted my eyes (who knew we would need goggles?). At this point I was not cold, but I was soaked. I wasn't going to go any further than Teds, and at this point saw no reason to go to there either -- so parted ways with CB and headed home.
CB threatened to head home too, but I didn't think he would, and he didn't. He went to Teds, but the "race" volunteer had already left. CB had been drinking shots at each stop and was now angry and belligerent. I think that warmed him up so he headed back downtown to the finish to talk with the race organizer -- which must have been entertaining. He heard that no one besides himself came back to Kellys if they had visited there earlier in the course. So only a few people visited Kellys only once, as their final stop and thus finished the course. Most people did not finish. Chris was over the two hour time limit, so he DNF'd too!
Overall it was a good adventure. I learned a few things about riding in cold, wet weather. We took many risks given the weather, bad visibility, number of cars on the road and likelihood that many of the drivers had already been drinking -- I am still questioning whether it was worth it or not. I was definitely fun and a good workout, but little margin for error.
-- more later