So I'm standing in the alley Friday evening fighting with the grape vines and five cyclists scream up and stop, - nicely set-up city road bikes all around - looking around, looking at me, looking for something it seems. I say, hey guys what's up? They're still looking, mumbling to each other, "next block" one says and they all take off the way they came. Fifteen minutes later a solo rider pauses, and also realizing that this must not be "it", leaves. I finish and go in.
Late Friday night a rider dismounts and walks past the fire and into my garage, I tell him that the party he is looking for is a block over - he tells me it's actually a 24 hour alley-cat. Wow, really? I step out and look, and yes, I can see the riders passing through the check-point a block over in the next alley. I head over to check it out and find a small but enthusiastic group of volunteers, spectators and riff-raff including Gene-O and Marco from I bike Mpls taking pictures with a giant camera. Everyone is constantly cracking jokes and supporting the riders. Very cool.
Saturday morning I stop by again with the girls and recognize some riders from the night before, the ebb and flow of the checkpoint continues. I monitor the sights and sounds of the race throughout the day, from a block away. I go biking in the afternoon feeling kind of tired and hungry, but how can I complain? - the riders around me have been on their bikes for the last 16 hours.
This was a pretty cool thing to see and hear and have floating around in my head all weekend - these punk-rock attitude cyclists doing this mentally and physically really hard thing for the challenge and community of it. I was glad to have been part of it.