$30 + free beer

Training monotony is something to be avoided like the plague, both in the body & the soul, as doing the same thing all the time leads to stagnation.

So just for giggles, I showed up at an “Alleycat” sprint race on my track bike. These are urban races that sprint the full length of a city block from a standing start. I was racing with the same bunch of biking neo-beatniks I filmed during the Salt City Sprints

Some of these urban riders are quite quick off the line, and there was a smattering of true bike racers as well, including fellow speedskater Inacio Lopez.

The bikes ranged from titanium & velodrome worthy rides, to things scrounged from dumpsters & rattle can painted.

I had good sprint legs this day, and ended up winning $30 for first place of the 30-ish riders, plus as much beer as I could drink at the after-party at the W Lounge (2 PBR’s was all I could down & still manage to bike home safely).

In addition to the sprints, they also had a fun event, called “foot down”, where the spectators form a ring, and the cyclists circle like sharks within the ring, and try to knock each other off their bikes.

The spectators slowly contract the ring during the event, and as I said, it’s low key fun, note the fellow drinking a beer during this-

My aluminum track bike is similar structurally to the beer can this fellow has in his hand, so I skipped this part of the competition.

However it got me thinking, imagine a short track event, maybe a relay, where the spectators are on the ice, creating an ever shrinking circle pad barrier. Contact would be natural!

It would eventually become just one long, endless corner pivot, punctuated by the thud of bodies into the pads.

If that does not attract the attention of ESPN, I am not sure what would (half naked, fur-wearing cheerleaders?)

It is one of the true mysteries in sports that short track is not all over American television, as it has EVERYTHING Americans love about sports….

Oh yeah, maybe if we did it in WWF masks, or in Speedos, or…..

P.S.SaltCycle blogger Blaue Reiter wrote about this event, and called me a “heap-big speedskater and general cool dude” in his post.. That made my day… Yeah!

Also he took a nice picture of me in my super-secret, holey, 18 year old, “bike-race-day-only” flannel shirt that few speedskaters have ever seen. Damm, my secret is out!

Again, this was just a lot of low-key fun.

18 Responses to “$30 + free beer”

  1. *beams* What fun! Bikes! Races! Beer! And you turned a profit! I’m totally jealous, we’re under a foot of snow up here.

    (side note: Jeebus, Andrew, as if the pads in short track aren’t close enough already, you big LT freak :).)

  2. Hey man! good to find your site and news of the sprints! I was the guy on the purple/pink bike miles behind you in the final heat.

    I linked to your post over on Salt Cycle, congrats on the win and I hope to see you around.


  3. Aaaaaahhh… this is vintage Andrew. We could be 19 and in college and I could hear the gang of guys we hung out with then describing this. Only now that you’re going to be a Dad it’s a little different, huh? Yes, I think you’d've been in that ever-tightening circle with the rest of them all those years ago… bicycles can be repaired.

    The other night we were talking about places we might one day move and Salt Lake is near or at the top of the list. Proximity to fabulous skiing makes a big difference to my new husband. I’m pushing for it for other reasons…

    See you. Much love to the fam!
    - B

  4. Rebecky,

    reading this made me SMILE, because yes, you were around when I was 19, and first getting addicted to bikes.

    yeah, I would have been in that ever-tightening circle when I was 19… I just would not have worried at all then about crunching my bike…

    but now I know from hard experience, aluminum bikes don’t repair well, you just throw them away.

    it would be AWESOME if you moved back to ‘Mo-town!!!

  5. […] Love’s Foot Down Posted on April 22, 2008 by peterdoucet I really like the ‘Foot Down‘ competition in Andrew Love’s most recent entry called $30 + free beer. […]

  6. Actually, it’s NOT that different once you’re a parent - or at least it shouldn’t be.

    Different, yes. Total personality change or inhibition - i hope not!

  7. You don’t stop doing stupid shit when you become a parent because you’re more responsible. You stop doing stupid shit because you don’t have the time…

  8. Becky, you’re considering moving to SLC???????
    Wait, you lived here once, didn’t you?
    That would be so freaking cool. Hampsters invade SLC!

  9. I checked out Der Blaue Reiter post and picture, and Andrew - are you wearing a short track helmet? If so, I’m soooo disappointed! You are out there wearing your flannel shirt looking like you would never think about wearing skin tight lycra, but you cheated by wearing that slippery short track helmet!!!! Give the PBR back! :-)

  10. yes, I wear my short track helmet for cycling anytime its colder than 45 degrees (this day was blustery and chilly)…

    A short track helmet is so warm & comfy, it makes me wonder why ANYONE would wear a helmet with vents if it’s chilly.

    yeah, a short track helmet makes a nice time trial helmet, but for 200 meter standing start sprints, areodymanics make little difference…

    however a long standing co-dependent relationship with Mr Squat Rack & Mrs. Leg Press.. that makes a difference.

  11. 200m standing start bike race? That’s just power lifting on wheels.

    Sadly, if it were a “real” event, it would be FILTHY with doping.

  12. Andrew why do you say “just for giggles” you decided to come out to the sprints on sunday??? We are glad you came because you rocked…and you help set the bar for people to ride faster

    I mean you won, and it wasn’t by any short length, no one will contest that. However, we cheered you on to victory just like anyone else if they had won. You obviously have an aura of perfection about you by the way you glance and glare at certain “neo-beatniks” as you say while at an event. I think you are also numb to any kind of praise….

    Is it possible you might be taking yourself a little too seriously here?? I detect some elitist bones in your body….There were two riders who usually come to the sprints but didn’t show up who are excpetionally fast, much like yourself.

    i’m sure it would have been closer if they were there. It might have been a more enjoyable race for you to have some actual competition….and you wouldn’t feel like you were a god amongst men

  13. hey Eddy,

    hmmmm, how to respond…. ok…

    “for giggles” - well… I am really serious a lot of the time, speedskating can be an absolutely brutal sport, and it demands a lot of perfectionism & a competitive nature to do it well…

    and yes, it can be a cesspool of Elitism at its worst (merely hierarchical at its best)….

    You have no idea about this weird little subculture out at the Utah Olympic oval that I’ve been marinating in…. If it’s seeped into my bones, I need to have those bones removed with no anesthesia

    Believe me, I’m pretty chill compared to many… Part of me mentioning the “$30 and free beer” is that in 99% of events, Speedskaters race our hearts out for NOTHING. So any kind of prize is a shockingly wonderful thing.

    This event was WONDERFULLY relaxed & fun, it was not about “winners & losers” in the stark terms that skating usually is… it was about having a good time with some chill folks…

    I am glad to have done well at the sprints, but if those 2 riders come on out & mop the floor with me, I will still be having just as much fun… really…. my ego is not on the line during an alleycat.

    It is worth noting I was the lamest of anyone at the trackstand comp.. and cheered on everyone else, as well as admiring the handling skills & guts of the folks who brave the “full contact” nature of the foot down…

    “neo-beatniks” -no group of people exists in a vacuum, and I see a lot of commonalities between some things about the late 1950’s “Beats” & the current urban rider culture.. Much more than the 60’s counterculture….

    Should I have used another term? yeah, all labels are limiting.. But how would you describe this loose-knit collection of folks? Like all groups, there absolutely are social norms & patterns of behavior/dress.

    And I never would have written about myself the way Davey did. I would have been an arrogant bastard if I did…. I am no “god among men”, I get my ass kicked all the time in races, and even the Olympians & national team skaters who are the ones administering said ass-kicking, they aren’t gods either…

    They are just really talented folks who train frighteningly hard… That does not make them any better or worse human beings than anyone else….

    All this said, I had an absolute blast at the event, and I look forward to talking to you when I am back…

  14. Hey thanks for coming out to the sprints. Yes they are pretty loosely organized. But we have fun. You made it exciting for us. Hope to see you again. Maybe next time Nick and Bill will race and give you a good challenge. Your speedskating videos are amazing, to say the least. I will get you that footage we took on my camera of you racing. we have some good stuff. we are still logging and capturing it though..i gave you a nine second clip of all i can do on my track bike since im not fast…



  15. yeah, I really have to stand up for andrew here… Reading his post, I don’t get the impression that he hurried home and thought: ‘i’m going to tell the whole internet how much fixie-kid ass I kicked!’ No. he wrote about a cool event in his city, and what a genuinely good time he had. More power to him.

    And frankly, If I had been riding a fixie since 1994 and I saw the growth of kids on brakeless neon bikes in the last 2 years, I’d be looking for a group-type label to apply to them too. Not out of any kind of judgement, but just because having a ton of fixie riders in salt lake is a pretty cool and new phenomenon.

    The whole tone of my saltcycle post was meant to be light-hearted. I poked fun at the other racers (myself included) with my ’scads of inspired lads’ BS because Andrew was so laid back about the whole event.

    I think if you get too upset about winning and losing in a weekend community event you’re missing the point a little. I was just stoked to see that many people on bikes that they loved with people they loved. That stuff’s just plain cool.

    Anyway Andrew, keep coming back! The guy who won in march was equally as far ahead of the pack, add in some of the other fast guys lurking around town and we’ll have a whole new level of crazy.


    Oh, and pretty sweet that you got Eddy “the cannibal” Merckx all riled up. That man IS a god.

  16. Andrew and Davey,
    who cares about the guy eddy???? you won the event andrew. Its just fine if you destroy everyone else in a race and then to be a little cocky!!! Bill does the same thing every time he wins. thats normal! we are glad you came out to race..there has been a HUGE influx in young kids riding fixed in the last 6 months. and i think we all predict that this summer is going to be the “pogs” or “razor scooter” phenomena summer of fixed gears. You will see people on them everywhere. and then the fake people who are just into fashion will sell them by fall.


  17. Andrew,
    Just wanted to say thanks for posting and showing off our small but growing bike community. Hope to see you out again soon.

  18. Jealous.
    Try living in rural VT and do anything fun like that.
    Even good ol’ Geneva or Ithaca has way more excitement then Southern VT.
    Oh well… I make my own bed.
    Just a moment of urban envy.
    Thanks for the continued good read.
    Hope all the pre baby stuff goes well!

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