Saturday, February 13, 2010

We Stand On Guard For Thee.

The fun thing about riding alleycats is there are so many variables - or, to put it in simpler terms, there are so many things that can go wrong. This was certainly the case during last night's Love Is A Battlefield Valentine's Day alleycat. Lane and Safa were tipped to pair up and smash the field, but Lane's dodgy knee convinced him to give it a miss, so Safa was left with Dimos. The two of them are apparently still looking for Flinders Bridge, which is usually known as Princess Bridge. Benzy and Coffee Ben looked the goods, and even recovered quickly when Coffee kieren bumped not one but two moving cars, but tripped up on the same hurdle. Chaz and Ryan flatted out. And Sime nearly had his arse kicked by some angry homeowner when he was caught stealing a sunflower.

And me? Well, I was supposed to be having a rest day, and had to come up with a way of resisting my own temptations - ie, to smash it. Given it was a Valentine's day theme I was paired with Casey, which helped, and riding her pink Malvern Star Park Avenue helped a little more. The Park Avenue was apparently the source of much discussion - kids with tricked out, colour co-ordinated fixies couldn't quite believe that I was going to race on it (obviously they were too fresh to remember old mate riding a girl's step through in Sime's Scavenger Hunt Alleycat in 2007... and winning, only to find out he had an answer wrong). They also seemed quite surprised when I flicked them, hooked them and tried to put them into the gutter every time they went past. Like the Boy Named Sue, you gotta be tough if you're going to ride a pink bike.

It was the pink bike, however, that was our downfall. I was able to cope ok with it being stuck in the one gear, and that gear feeling a bit like an 88. But I wasn't too good at remembering its other limitations. Popping it up off a gutter on Sydney Road probably wasn't the best idea, and by the time we hit Pigdon Street I had a flat. I hadn't really prepared for this contingency. In my bag i had my usual emergency kit - pump, levers and a spare tube - but the tube was a Schwable Racelight 700. The wheels were 27 inch. They're not the same. And, to further the issue, when I pulled the old tube out, the rim tape came too, eventually disintegrating in my hands. We wrapped the rim in electrical tape (I am always well prepared for the coming apocalypse), shoved the tube in and limped back to the museum.

Ten minutes later Jay and Coopz rolled in, taking out first. Jason and THE JAMS came in second, and I can't remember who came third.

It was a benefit alleycat, and apparently the organizers - Zoe and Maija - were able to raise $400 for the most excellent Spokes In The Wheel project. Nice work, folks.

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