|alleycat melbourne february 22 scavenger hunt
||[Feb. 24th, 2008|01:17 pm]
I promised I'd write about the Alleycat that took place on Friday night. It was a fuckin' blast. Alleycats ... I dunno - let's see what the intertubes say about them, and then I'll get into my version. Thanks, wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alleycat_races -- Once again Canada brings something new and shiny into the world (^_^)|
It started at the Public Bar ... wait, how did I find out about it? Word of mouth. I bumped into a friend earlier in the week at LaDiDa, (http://www.bar-secrets.com/BarNone/BarNoneMelbourne/LaDiDa.aspx best $1 coffees in Melbourne btw, if only they opened before 9! Suits my 10am shifts and it's just close enough to get there and back in a 10 minute smoko. But I digress) who informed me that there was a 'cat coming up on the Friday. My sphincter puckered and my mind raced, should I have a crack at it, what would it be like, etc etc. $10 entrance fee. Fine. It's a scavenger hunt. Also fine. Thanks for the tipoff Steve!
So I rock up to the Public after another boring day on the phones. There's quite a throng milling around outside, bikes everywhere, pretty, shiny, expensive, cheap, and at the end of the day there were 53 entrants, don't know how many finished. I decide to indulge in some pre-race melburn courage and neck a couple* of pints. Caught up with Steve and had a round each of pots as well, so I'm well lubricated by the time they call the start. The-Other-Steve also came good on his promise to pay for two conti gator tyres - cursed perhaps, they were off the 300 that I totaled in the prang - and handed me $50. A sign! An omen! I register too late for a spoke card, and they were quite shmick too. Poo. I want my consumer culture instant gratification and I want it yesterday! The organisers were waiting for the cover of dusk ... sneaky fuckers.
What really made it for me though, loitering at the pub, was deciding to have a yarn with the old codger at the bar. I guess I was hiding from the trendsetters outside but it was a good call in the end - heard some amazing stories about Guy's dad mustering sheep from near where the Kensington stockyards are/were over to Richmond/Abbotsford - down Melbourne's roads - in the 1940s. 'Fingers' lost most of the digits on his right hand when he was 17 and has a rather impressive 'craw!' left. On account of the noise inside the bar, and our relative states of inebriation, I was probably better off for not hearing what he was saying right at the end of our chat - but the grin on his face and the slightly disturbing hand action he was demonstrating informed me that his love-life obviously didn't suffer after the accident, and may have been improved by it ... *ahem*.
After an explanation of the rules and a brief lecture about noisy mass starts, 'last time the venue got blamed and they don't want a fine' or words to that effect, the first manifest pickup location was revealed - 200m away in the Vic Market carpark. The first set of items were related to takeaway food, in particular, a chinese takeaway menu, a fish-shaped soy sauce packet, and the discarded packaging from a meal. I'm still shaking out the cobwebs that the pots and pints wove in my brain and am almost ready to declare it all too hard.
Another omen! Another rider decides to chuck it in an hands me the items she's already collected - and that's the first leg taken care of. No fish sauce packet - but I rip a page out of the Monthly http://www.themonthly.com.au/ I'm carrying and cobble together a passable origami 'fish-shaped soy sauce container' and load it with a squirt of soy from a nearby restaurant. Done and done.
There's a stage I can't really remember - one piece of info required was 'what time does the last session of Rambo screen at Melb Central cinemas?' and I see something sad half-way up the escalators - a fairly beefy guy being pinned to the ground by security. There's a security guard at the bottom of the escalators, who tells me I can't go up - but he only blocks the up escalator so I zip up the down side instead. BICKETY BAM and then see why they were controlling access. If I'd seen the 'arrest' and known what he'd done, if anything, and felt he needed to be liberated, I could have bumped into the guard pinning him down. But just in case he's high on a Ben Cousins happy meal (no burger, no fries, just ice and coke - boom-tish!) I leave him burbling rapidly into the ground. "pleaseletmegopleaseletmegoididn'tdonothin'pleaseletmegopleaseletmego." Hmm. Probably speeding off his chops. I leave via the stairs and emergency exit - the door is alarmed but only for as long as it's open. Bike's still there, the escalators are still blocked, and a divvy van has been summoned. A day in the life. I think the next bit was a Flagstaff station raid - I fang it up Swanston and left at La Trobe. A quick squirt and I'm at the station, and I need the time the ticket booth opens at Southern Cross, a train timetable, and a ticket with the Flagstaff stamp on it. Didn't know about SX but the checkpoint marshall is cold or bored and decides it doesn't really matter at this point. Wee we're off again!
By now it's starting to rain a fair bit and I get into my 'riding in the wet is fun' state of mind. The roads are slippery li'l suckers and I did put the bike down once, I think on Elizabeth St in the 'tall buildings' stage - a bit of cross-town riding to make checkpoints at Rialto and Eureka Tower. The ET checkpoint is moved after security arc up, so that took a bit of finding.
At one stage of the race I'm zipping past a couple of security goons out the back of their building having a fag, watching riders go by. "Is this a race? What are you doing this for?" one asks, in between drags. I don't really have time to ask smart-arsed questions, eg "how's that smoking working out for you?" ... but I was certainly thinking about cute things to say for the next ten minutes.
I don't have the checksheets on me but the last stage was a pisser - a take-away coffee cup, a milk crate, and a business card from a Club X store (might have mixed some of these up, sorry). The cup and crate aren't a problem, although going to the coffee shop at the GPO that late in the day resulted in me having to buy a frappe instead of a hot brew as the machine's off. Turns out a cold coffee was just what the doctor ordered, (protip:easier to scull!) even at $5, and I was on my merry way. The milkcrate magically appeared in the second or third lane I looked in, and that was quickly laced through my bag strap. I stopped off at the only Club X I've ever been to (honest, Mum!) - the one on Russell St. Had a fun chat with Ocean who didn't have any business cards in the first place - she was just handing out Club X flyers which did the trick anyway. Ask me about the time I had to collect a pair of (skating!) kneepads from that store ...
There's a fair pile of crates under the cow at docklands and I realise that I'm well behind in the pack. I'm just in it to be in it at this stage - especially after my false start. Last checkpoint is back at the Vic Market carpark - I placed 35 out of 53. Not bad for starting off the pace. I rode the whole thing with my bag full of random crap, and the polo mallet strapped to the crossbar. Might see how I go without so much luggage next time - but it was handy having the Mary Poppins carpet bag, and a pump wouldn't hurt.
Good fun. A quick 'meal' at DacMonalds, another beer or two at the PB and then off to bed. A tired li'l rabbit was I.
Now all I have to do is work on remembering what road goes where - and get ready for the 3rd Melburn Roobaix...
* three. I think. Plus two pots = 8 x 285 = > 2 litres of beer. No wonder I'm schlaggered at the start.