“Even Experienced Cyclists Make Mistakes ”
Wet. Frozen. Cold. Did I mention wet?
The weather usually produces epic conditions for the last alleycat of the year, and Mother Nature did not disappoint. The one, and usually only, St Paul alleycat was sponsored by Omnium Bike Shop, one of the newest shops to open in 2011.
Most of my race preparation was figuring out what to wear as both rain and snow were predicted. However, no precipitation had fallen as of that afternoon so I hoped that the temperature had fallen enough so that it would only snow (Error #1). I hopped on my MTB (Error #2) and headed to St. Paul.
Manifests were handed out at 7pm and provided a list of jumbled names which were bars or pubs in St Paul. At each stop, we would receive a Scrabble letter piece. At the last stop, we had to spell a word and whoever’s word score was the highest, won. Another twist in the routing was that the final stop was unknown, only to be revealed when getting to the stop. Luckily for me, I was riding with a Hamline-Midway resident superstar that knew the locations of all of the stops.
We ran outside into some misting rain and sprinted for the first two stops. We picked up them up quickly and headed downtown into heavier rain. This was the beginning of the end for me. The stop was located deep, deep in downtown St Paul which was completely downhill on the way there [great!]. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the final stop so we had to turn around and head back up the hill to Mac-Groveland. At this point, I was not feeling great; I had biked 9 miles to the start on my MTB (wrong tool for the job) and my water-resistant gear was starting to fail. Wet and cold are my kryptonite. Thoughts of spending another 2 hours in the rain and still having 9 miles to get back home were not pleasant.
I bid my friend adieu and headed back home to enjoy the final hours of the year. As always, there is never bad weather, just bad clothing choices. I did climb Ramsey on my way home, albeit slowly, and it did start gently snowing big beautiful fat flakes as I reached Minneapolis. Overall, a pretty good way to end the year.
AFGE #5 winner: Rich Bergstrom