Thursday, 5 October 2006

Aussie Alleycat - The Final Countdown Timetrial

2 October - Bright bright sun forced me up early and I finally checked out the local IGA, kind of disappointed, didn’t have the bread, jam or breakfast cereals i've become accustomed to but time will enable me to find local substitutes, until then, broadway isn’t that far away. Today represented my first foray into australian courier competition - my first and only proper alleycat was the valentine's day event in vancouver, organised by the ozzie andy 'trackc**t' white - there was very serious competition there but my overall impression is that through necessity or chance the Sydney couriers are generally stronger and aggressive (or more accurately, there are just a lot more serious cyclists in Sydney courier world) and I didn’t rate my chances to be stratospherically high. As a messenger I think i'm probably as good as any and better than most but I still don’t know the Sydney streets perfectly (not that my knowledge of Van was complete at the time of the Valentines Day) and some of these guys ar super competitive and pretty reckless when it comes to personal safety. Met PJ who was coming down to film th eevent at Surry Hills for an early late bruncheon and registered once the main crowd arrived. All in all, 29 competitors including a few ex-couriers and internationals. A slightly different model to what i've done before but a more pure messenger style competition - seven locations throughout Sydney with each stop representing a pick and a drop - order determined by the competitor. The starts were a couple at a time, staggered by 2 minute breaks. I left at 2:06 with Reed and Chris from Mail Call and without properly reading my manifest and working out the full route I hightailed it out to the park at Crown and Foveaux where I started to consider exactly where I should be going next. Occasionally saw other couriers on the road, especially at the checkpoints - a little bit different than a norml work day because the traffic was a lot lighter but the boys in blue seemed to be out in full force. as I came up to one intersection where I was preparing to run the red I saw a paddy van on the other side and slowed down, shouting out 'Cop!', that didn’t seem to stop Jimmy James from speeding past me and having the police shout at him and put on the siren - I cruised past reasonably legally and carried on - all in all, 42 or 43 minutes riding as hard as I could on not much more than blood sugar and adrenalin. Near the end I found myself following reed for the last two checkpoints but I know I took a very circuituous route coming into the last. Almost got disqualified for not putting my name on the manifest I handed in but considering that only 5 people did everythingwas oky (when one person f**ks up, they f**k up, when everyone f**ks up nobody f**ks up) - 14th (25s after reed) out of the 29 so I was in the top half which is fine by me. Apparently did the checkpoints in the same order as the winner, Shane, and in hindisght I was pretty sure it was the best one but I know I could have taken a far more direct route getting between the pikndrops - only city experience could do that though so we'll have to wait for the next one. Legs started to ache a little afterwards - the distance and speed is far more than one would ever do in a similar period at work (unless one had a reallyreally bad dispatcher) but felt pretty bzzed by the whole thing. Despite shane being the winner (apparntly he drew it with an ex-courier paddy but he got it because the coveted winner's jersey must be worn by a working courier at the worlds) there were other vain claims for positions, first fixie, first brakeless fixie, DFL (dead f**kn' last) but nobody remembers them afterwards except for the claimants themsleves as they mull it over into their spiced mead. I was happy with what I got - first australian race and I didn't make a tit of myself. Whhat more could I want? Finished it off with beer and lots of carbohydrates and good and bad television.

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