Monday, May 05, 2008

Alley Cat Racing: Springtastic!

Springtastic went off Saturday night as per schedule. For the first time, I didn't race but served as a checkpoint. Hayward had promised me Casa Loma but did not deliver, so I ended up with the Glen Road bridge in the riches of Rosedale, on a quiet, wet Saturday night.

And there my troubles began.

I settled in, armed with rain hat, rain coat and a few cans of beer + stickers, one for each racer manifest as they stopped by. There was plenty of time to hang about in the semi-darkness, small mansions all about me, and I admit to feeling a little paranoid about being there, just hanging around doing nothing with a beer at my side and a red light blinking away. Would some paranoid manion-owner call the police on me? And what would be my story if they happened upon me? 'Doing a traffic study officer', I could have said flashing City ID if I had had it with me. Pretty ludicrous.
The only harassment I got was from a racoon who kept emerging from his side of the bridge, as though he wanted my can of beer, which annoyed me thoroughly. I hissed at him enough and finally Racoon stopped coming around.
After seven racers showed up (1/2 the field), I had a new problem: I was in the wrong place. The proper checkpoint location was the Glen Road pedestrian bridge. Smitty and Kuz went away very pissed with the race organizer who shall remain nameless (but who answers to Tofu), who had never given me a manifest where this proper location was written, along with all the others.

Off I went to the correct location, and started waiting again. Eventually a few more racers rolled in, some admitting that they'd gone to the other bridge. I said nothing.

Alley cats, for all the excitement and adventure, tend to have a very small buffer where chaos often reigns. For instance, this race had the added feature of three separate phases in its structure. The first phase was five checkpoints to be done in any order, with a secret location to be asked for/told after the racer completed all five. From there a time trial started (200 Queens Quay East ending at 388 Carlaw); after this race-within-the-race, three more checkpoints had be completed, including the finish, where finishers posted their names on the wall. The secret within the secret of the time trial was that it featured a separate prize entirely, discreet from the main race.
For the record, two people were dq-ed for missing the time-trial, and Charlie Randall, youngster with the legs of fire, won the race proper. Most eveybody thought it was a great time and were thoroughly entertained. Wish I'd have been one of them.

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