Sunday, June 26, 2011


I “raced” in the initial event of this weekend’s “Rebel Without a Cog” series of fixed-gear cycling events on Friday night, and while I didn’t win anything, I was competitive, at least in the challenge I undertook, and most importantly, managed to pedal around town for a couple hours without coasting while managing to not forget I had no freewheel, thus succeeding in refraining from launching myself over the handlebars of the Quickbeam, even as I hurried to complete the tasks outlined on the race manifest.

Local cycling hero, Rob Kittleson, whom I’ve had the pleasure to run into at a variety of events, including the North American Bike Polo Championships a few years ago, organized Friday night’s alleycat to have an ideal “race within the race” option for slackers like me who were unlikely to complete all ten or so checkpoints in the full race. Participants could compete for the green sprinter’s jersey by returning to the meet-up spot at Cool Guy Park as soon as possible after the start with three different bottles of beer from three different Seattle-based breweries.

While other racers who were considering this option debated which three brewpubs they could ride to the fastest, I headed straight fro the nearest QFC, which fortunately had pint bottles from the Elysian, Hales, and the Fremont Brewing Company.

Racing back to the start with the trio of beers in hand, I kept thinking of one of my dad’s favorite mottos: “Old age and treachery will beat youth and enthusiasm every time.”

Unfortunately, there must have been someone—probably not older, but apparently more treacherous than me, because when I arrived, confident that I’d won, Rob pointed out to me on the starter’s table, three beers already standing.

Still, second place in the sprinter’s competition ain’t bad, especially when you’re not that used to riding fixed. And given that I didn’t go endo once all night, I consider the event a rousing success all around.


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