John of Demon Cats on Reload's Race
Each year, Reload messenger bag company, maker of amazing custom bags like this one:
hosts an April fool's race (not only on the 1st of April) This is a scavenger hunt race, which is a great way to see Philadelphia and have fun on a bike.
Here is John,
from demon cats racing DC, report on the race which happened April 14th, 2007;
"AZ and I got a bit of a late start on our way to Philly and as we arrived 5 minutes before race time, we were confronted with a sea of humanity and bikes on the streets behind the R.E.Load headquarters.
Only two hundred spokecards and manifests had been printed. Three hundred racers showed up. Hmmmmm. What to do? Roland announced that the registered racers would get sent on their way. Unregistered racers could ride for free sans the t-shirts or spokecards. They would ride to a print shop Critical Mass style to get more.
As the race officials started handing out manifest, I stuck my hand out and ended up with a manifest. AZ got one from someone who didn't plan to race. Jacob S. gave me his spoke card for
the race, since he had DFL in mind.
Who do we ride with we ponder? We see Squid and mosey over. Since Squid won the race last year, he's a good bet to follow, since he has an uncanny knack for choosing good wheels in a city not his own.
The serious crews have since taken off and we see a good group moving out. We latch on, but at the first stop sign, one of their riders on a fixie falls over. Followed by another. And another.
A Philly rider named Jeff rides up on us and after a quick chat we decide to follow him. As he takes off FAST on his fixie I see the R.E.Load winner bag for the HOUR OF POWER race. Fuck, this is going to be fast and hard.
I've raced in five of eight April Fool's and have never had the opportunity to get in a good break.
This was a good break.
At this point the race becomes a blur. For me, it was to become a ride of constant gap closing and riding within sight, praying for traffic to slow down the front a bit for me not to permanently dropped. Early on our group was whittled to three as Squid dropped off the pace. After that, it was a ride of only twenty miles, but at the max and full of craziness.
There were five bar check points where the beer stops were much appreciated. Bob and Barbara's, The Tattoed Mom's and so on.
In one we had to write an essay to our female pseudo-East Block Female Prison Guards who kept us in JAIL for 5 minutes.
At another we wrote Haiku:
I bike messenger
I am always riding fast
I am always late
The Exercise Girls whipped us into shape with push-ups, jumping jacks and a two block bike portage- cyclo-cross style!
The skateboard ride while shooting at a spinning target, followed by a shot of tabasco or a shot of vodka. I discovered that the tabasco followed by the vodka leave a pleasant Bloody Mary taste in your mouth. Yummm.
The drag race back along the river for several miles back to the R.E.Load store to look for Bilenky Pat who was dressed as a Playboy Bunny. Anna Nicole had nothing on him! At least not now. That ride was run between 23 and 25 milles an hour through traffic! Jeff and AZ were constantly a good 500 feet in front of me and was the only gap I could not close down. Thank God for the checkpoint!
We stopped and made calls to Crown Fried chicken to check on the price of a 15 piece box. A beauty parlor to check on the price of a styling.
Finding the flyer for the NoteKillers show on a wall of flyers. Multiple signatures. A minimum amount of fake checkpoints for a change.
I must say that we worked the course really really good as a riding group.
Finish time was 6:15, so at about 6:05 we sprinted the last 20 blocks to the warehouse in North Philly where the party and awards ceremony. Later in the night a rave was to be going on, so we had to vacate the premises by a certain time.
It was nice to chill on a beautiful afternoon. Going to get some chinese. Having a safety meeting with good friends. Catching up on old times. The Mr. Softee Ice Cream truck and the Double Dip Double Cone. I hadn't had one of those since I was five years old in South Texas! Wow.
I poured a beer and set myself in a big comfy chair. Roland came up to me to clarify why he had two manifests with #106 on it. One with 10 points and one with 1900 or so on it. After taking my explanation and the fact that I had ridden with Jeff, I was left with the vague feeling that I might have done really well!
Awards came! The Top Six Men in reverse order:
6th- ME!!! DC. HA! That was an awesome race! My best April Fool's ever!
5th- AZ. DC. He rode absolutely perfectly!
4th- Eric? Philly.
3rd- Sharky- Philly.
2nd- Austin Horse- NYC- Top outta-town- The National Champ shows why he is the National Champ!
drum roll please-
1st PLACE AND 2007 APRIL FOOLS CHAMP- Jeff O'Neall!!! There couldn't have been a more deserving winner. He guided us through mile after mile of checkpoints on a trackbike no less. He won the beautiful RE Load Bag, a Fuji Pro Track bike and fork, crazy amounts of schwag and the crowd's applause and adulation and AZ's and my eternal thanks for a great race!!!
After the party, we rode back to the car and ended up at a small pizza take out on N.2nd called Rustico. Had a slice, while AZ got a sub. They allow you to bring in beer, so I got a big bottle of some Carlsberg special edition brew to celebrate.
We finally rolled out of Philly around 10 pm, spent from the day's event. AZ dropped me off. I walked into my quiet house. Sat at my new table, had a smoke and a glass of milk. It was time to climb into my big comfy bed and dream of First Place next year! Not! :)
Racing for Victory and free beer!!!
Societe des DemonCats
Le Tour de Le District