Search Lobsterland

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Pub N Pedal 2014

Corinna went to the pre-party and rode the beginning of Pub N Pedal this year, which was about all her stamina would allow, then came home and took over daughter supervision duties so I could go catch the rest of it.

For the uninitiated, Pub N Pedal is one of the bigger alleycat/scavenger hunt events in Kansas City every year. The only one that even comes close to rivaling it is Cranksgiving—which draws a more diverse set of riders and possibly even more riders. But where Cranksgiving is a noble cause (raises food and necessaries for St. Peter's relief pantry), Pub N Pedal, as its name implies, is essentially an elaborate drinking game.

You get a list of bars, you try to get to as many of them as possible and get back to Buzzard Beach in three hours. Don't have to drink at all the bars, and by way of verifying where you've been, you're to take pictures of you and your mates in each bar. If cyclocross course planners think they've come up with barriers to get people off their bikes, try putting a fully stocked bar on the course complete with bartenders. I know there are cyclists who don't drink, but a bar slows most of us down way more than a muddy slope or a flight of stairs.

I started with The Ship, the newly opened West Bottoms dive because it was the closest one to home on the list. And I say dive with affection, all the bars on Pub N Pedal fit the general description. Grinders isn't on the list, for that matter, because the KC Sprints crew doesn't believe it's enough of a dive. I haven't been to the Johnson County one they've opened up, but Grinders in the Crossroads is pretty divey in my humble opinion, but whatever. Grinders is probably too well known to the broader community.

A lot of these bars are tiny, the sorts of local watering holes that normally only draw patrons from walking distance. The Red Front had maybe three or four people at the bar when two teams of Pub N Pedal riders showed up and it was suddenly at more or less capacity.

My group didn't make all that many places, after the Ship (where we hung out way too long to be competitive), we hit Grandma's, Red Front, and discussed what one or two others we could hit and still make it back to Buzzard by ten. That discussion was interrupted by a flat tire on a track bike.

Whatever bike you ride, if you love it, it's awesome. To me, though, a track bike makes about as much sense as a carbon fiber racing bike, and for a lot of the same reasons. I'm not a light enough or fast enough rider for the weight advantage to really play itself out. They're made for racing, the Madone with the assumption you have a team car chasing the peloton with supplies, the fixie with the assumption that you're in a velodrome.

Hard to get a pinch flat in a velodrome anyway, but that's what happened to this front tire when it hit a pothole or something, and the tube was ruined, snake bit, and no spare tube. A patch kit was tried, to no avail (predictably—a snake bite is almost impossible to patch), and when I offered one of my tubes it was too fat to fit inside the tire and the stem was too short to reach through the deep rim on the fixie. I struggled, and probably failed, to not be smug about how much more suited by Long Haul Trucker with hits 700x35 Marathon Plus Tour tires is for urban riding. It's a pig, before I put the panniers on my bike weighs 42 lbs (39-1/2 without the lock), but it's about as reliable as it gets.

Don't get me wrong, I was having a good time. I wasn't aiming to win the race, I'm not sure I even know how to think that way, it's more that I don't understand why someone accepts that level of frustration—and the cool kids with their fixies and roadies with their carbon frames probably can't fathom why I'd be fine with bike as heavy as mine. We finally split up with one rider going to his nearby home to fetch a pickup truck to the rescue and I rode off to Buzzard Beach alone.

Where a great time was had by all. I even got to see Zeke, who built my bike, he came back from Iowa for the event. Everyone loves Zeke, and I think it's kind of given him a big head. Or maybe that was Jones' doing.

My 'stolen' helmet was a big hit at the after party, a bevy of beautiful women took turns modeling it. It strikes me that the mohawk has gone floppy, time to make a new one of those.

No comments: