Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cranksgiving 2008

You feel the pressure when you can't decide between "Crunchy" or "Smooth" peanut butter and you know it's costing you time. Welcome to Cranksgiving 2008, an alley-cat bike race/scavenger hunt that fills the pantry of local food kitchens.

Alley Cat? Race? Scavenger hunt? What are you talking about.....?

Here's the deal: about 100+ riders showed up, we were given a manifest of things to purchase and a list of 10 different stores we had to ride to to get the goods. There was no map, no directions, and really only one rule; to win you had to have a receipt showing you purchased at least one item from each store. Items were peanut butter, apple sauce, instant mashed potatoes, corn/green beans, corn bread mix, chicken soup, tuna or chicken and breakfast cereal. All of the foodstuffs were then donated to local food kitchens.
Joining me in the race were co-worker Wade Beck, Dennis Markey--a friend of KOC's that I met once by chance on a Sunday morning bike ride (one that KOC slept in on) , and Kevin O'Connor his-own-self--first ride back after biting it at Octaginta. I rode the Varsity Fixie, I brought my old Trek for Wade to ride since it had a rack/panniers (which I would later regret), KOC and Dennis rode their road bikes--which meant they needed to carry their groceries on their back in a backpack. Easy at the start of the race, heavy as the day wears on.
It was a much different crowd that I am used to riding in. Generally riders fit into red state/blue state categories.

-RSRiders favor carbon bikes, 20 speed w/STI shifters, shaved legs, skinny arms, lycra bib shorts and ride Serrotta's, Specialized or Treks.

-BSRiders favor steel, fixed gears, tattoos, piercings, blue jeans, hemp jerseys, tennis shoes and spoke cards.

It was definately a blue state crowd, and I didn't see any of the road racing teams there. For the record, I rode in blue jeans.....over my bib lycra bib shorts. Everyone was awesome.

As we started, two other guys joined our pack; Nathan who lived off 31st & Oak, riding a nice Cannondale that he got from all the money he saved by quitting smoking cigarettes, and Ken, a guy riding a fixed gear who drove in 6 hours from Oklahoma City to ride in the event. The six of us found all the stores save one in Kansas City Kansas, and bought all of our stuff. I was secretly hoping to have the heaviest load and was loading up on the biggest boxes of cereal, or picking up 2 cans of corn, etc....only to get pipped at the end by Wade. I assumed our loads were about equal until I saw him walk out of the last store with a whole gallon jar of Applesauce. RATS!

After about two and a half hours of riding and 25ish miles, we made it to ACME Bicycles for the check in and after party. Needless to say, we didn't win; the parking lot was pretty full and the food for the food pantry was cornicopia-esquesly overflowing. The previous week, I went to the grocery store and had 27 lbs worth of stuff, I think I had over 30lbs easy by the time you counted all the cans, double peanut butters, applesause, etc.

At the end, our favorite sponsor was there in force, and I must say, I was thankful after a full day of alley-catting. Thank you Acme Bicycle Company. Thank you Boulevard Brewery. Thank you fellow riders. I feel very lucky to be able to participate in a fun event that provides such a great service to those who really need our help....AND earn my first every alley-cat spoke card.


brady said...

Cranksgiving Omaha was a similar experience with one major exception -- no Boulevard in the post ride party -- and a minor one in that there were three divisions in Omaha: Geared, fixed/single speed, and total weight (trailers encouraged). One rider brought in over 200+ lbs of groceries with seconds to spare from the three hour time limit. I wonder what his knees felt like afterward.

Ken's bike looks like a fixed gear version of Old Yeller. What kind of bike was it?

Anyway, thanks for the write up and good job earning that alley cat card. When will the body piercing and/or tatoo accompany it?

JB said...

do NOT show up at a cross race with those cards in the spokes. Just sayin'

murphini said...

JB--you gotta realize that my heart is as big as an ole grapefruit and I just gush forth love for all my fellow man and bikers. Heck--I may show up with jeans, spoke cards and some peanut butter for the next cross race--I'd still beat that cat on the Schwinn Moab.

Second, I would have assumed some CXers would have been at Cranksgiving--they seem to show much more love for their fellow man.

(smiling while putting on blindfold and taking last drag of my cigarette here...)

The eurostyled/Prosser-esque/tempo-pushing/pack-drafting roadies I've ridden with seem to think sharing is about them. They yell alot at guys like me to ride harder/faster so they can draft me until the last 400m. CXers seem much more mellow.

The SpokeCarders would gladly share their last clove cig with you whilst graphically explaining the joys of their most recent piercing.... Sure, they need to occassionally PARTAKE at the food kitchen, but it's all good.

The worst part, is I'm a roadie first, and nothing is better than passively agressively breaking someone on a hill or false flat.

And the flame wars begin.....