Well its been an unpredictable weekend to say the least. Canceled, not canceled. Rain, misting, not-raining, pouring. Videotape, didn’t record, recorded, camera falls to the ground on the road.
Despite the small dramas, its been good times overall and Monster Track 9 still brought people out from all over the world.
Friday night, Get Sum entertainment put on the pre-party and Goldsprints at Third Ward in Bushwick. This place is a nice size gallery space with lots of activity. Mixed in with drenched bike messengers attending the party, fashion models were in studio being photographed and others I meet were working on a documentary contest where they had to complete a film about “second life,” in four days. Oh and thanks for the pizza BTW.
Meanwhile, as the rain never stopped, Team Spider rocked out playing many of their new hits like Fuck Brakes, to a crowd who would be doing just that the next day at Monster Track. This was the bands 10 year anniversary party, bringing their bike punk rock to the masses.
On a big wall in the center of the gallery where about 140 photos from Ed Glazar showing off the diverse bicycle community with bike polo, alleycats and a lot of familiar faces that were in attendance.
Behind that wall was the goldsprints hosted by Hodari, CK and Mike Dee. Here participants battled it out on stationary bikes for prizes like crumpler bags decorated with original fabric art by Ashira.
Here you can pedal in a highly competitive environment and not have to worry about becoming a hood ornament form a speeding SUV.
The final battle of the night came down to our own Pablo from 6 racing team against this kid from Portland who had never been in NYC before.
The first final match was a dead tie so, it was shirts of and time for a vicious tie-breaker to the delight of the biker crowd.
By a close second Caze for Portland (not sure about the name) beat Pablo.
The mood of rain would shift from a light sprinkle to a monsoon downpour on the day of the Monster Track alleycat. This year was the ninth annual race and it was a real coming of age for the underground sport.
A 29 year old died in Chicago in an alleycat series which quickly brought attention to a type of event that has been going on for years without such a tragic incident. Suddenly everyone is questioning the legitimacy and legality of this underground sport normally reserved for bike messengers challenging one another on a weekend.
What can I say, people like to ride fixed gears, they like to ride in traffic and an alleycat race is such a unique exhilaration, always a different course and unlike any type of cycling there is. The fashionableness and the wide spread skill sharing scene on youtube have reached the masses and made cycling cool, so naturally there are lots of people who aren’t messengers who want this same sense of belongingness. Monster Track has become a peremiere event and made NYC a popular destination from rookie alleycat participants. Its also a way to gain bragging rights for your city and for yourself to escape from just being able to merely communte on a fixie to downright racing through a congested traffic environment.
So the original organizers washed their hands of it and left it up to last years organizer alleycat veteran and messenger, Victor. One tactic to reduce the “rookie racers” was hiding the registration and making it word of mouth. The Bangledeshian rains were doing a good job of thinking the pack of potential participants but still they came, drenched with surgical gloves, and plastic bags in their SIDI’s to sign up for the now elusive monster track. In a one room apartment in Williamsburg Brooklyn, the came in, paid ten bucks, got a spoke card and were told where to meet to start the race.
Photos from the start by Fritz:
At around 4:50, the rains stopped and the 50 or so fixie riders, who were given the secret handshake to race, took off from under the Williamsburg brige in Manhattan and Monster Track 9 was on.
Then they broke off into the city with most people going uptown and few headed down.
I headed to the middle of the Williamsburg Bridge which was the last checkpoint before the end which was designed to keep people off the car path.
Congratulations to the winner:
1st Mens: Austin
1st Womens: Heather
2nd place Men: Crihs
3rd place Men: Yatika
4th place Men: Willis
The end was at the park at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge, Brooklyn side. We hung out for a while and I talked with a woman who was shooting a documentary about messengers…never heard that concept before. There was also a freelance writer there named Bill who’s business card said he was from Portland. He said he was doing a story on MT for Bicycling magazine. It will be hard to report on this race…because of course it never happened.