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Thursday, November 27, 2014


Pub N Pedal might rival this, but today I think Cranksgiving is my favorite alleycat. The fact that I basically never miss it probably says it all, I'm hit and miss on actually attending Pub N Pedal, as much as I do love it.

The first time I ever rode with panniers was my first Cranksgiving.

Of course it's fun to get to go riding bikes around town, and it's a good cause. If you don't already know about Cranksgiving, it's a food-raiser for St. Peter's food bank in the form of an alleycat race. The manifest includes a list of items the food pantry needs, and a list of ten grocery stores.

First person back with something from the list from every store on the list wins fastest rider. There's men's and women's categories, but I learned the first time I did this ride that I am not fast enough to compete in this category. Corinna has won fastest female a few times, but the time I did all ten stores, I got back and there wasn't any beer left. Granted, there's a hundred liquor stores where I can buy my own beer, but to get back to chili and no beer, well, that takes a little of the flavor out of Cranksgiving.

Fortunately, there are more ways to win. Though winning isn't a big deal to me, any competition is more fun when you have something like a chance. Which brings us to Heaviest Load. This is the genius category of Cranksgiving, because people competing for fastest rider might be tempted to buy the lightest weight items on the list, and in the smallest quantities to make sure they get back fast.

Heaviest Load, though, that's a category that generates donations. Personally, I came in with 62 pounds of stuff. I was buying whole cases of canned goods, gallon jugs of cooking oil, though I knew I really didn't have a dog in the fight Trailers are the key to Heaviest Load, and I didn't even have my front rack on my bike to allow four panniers instead of two.

When I got back there was a guy who'd already brought in 172 lbs, and shortly thereafter, the female winner for Heaviest Load arrived with a trailer rated for 300 lbs loaded with a whopping 480 lbs of groceries.

There was also a team Heaviest Load category, and the team that won brought in 1,161 lbs, which is how St. Peter's ended up more than doubling last year's total. Weight doesn't tell the whole story, I know, but well over two tons of necessities were gathered.

The after party is half the fun of Cranksgiving. Various breweries donate their finest to the cause and there's a chili buffet. 75th Street Brewery even donated five gallons of Golden Ale, which is nice, maybe KC Hopps can pay their printing bill while they're into the whole generosity thing. Sorry, maybe that's talking out of school, but that company stiffed my employer for something well into five figures worth of printing, and for me that makes their beer taste jank even when it's free.

Anyway, the chili buffet was really something. They had the table ranked from mild to hot, with a couple crock pots of chicken noodle soup. Naturally, I went straight to the hottest chili, which had a skull and crossbones sign and the bleached skeletons of previous consumers scattered around it.

They weren't lying, I felt that chili all the way to my bowels immediately after swallowing the first bite. So naturally I ate a whole bowl of it and let the endorphins kick in.

A good time was had by all.

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