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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Cranksgiving 2016: Hail Hydra...Oh, Wait—Hail Big Grin

Cranksgiving: I try never to miss it. In fact, technically, since I met Corinna who turned me on to the whole affair, I've never missed it. I didn't ride it three years ago when I was post-op. I think I'd been cleared to ride bikes by then (open heart surgery) but since the bypass put me past my max out of pocket for the year, I got a long overdue vasectomy right before this ride.

I heard that last year's ride, Kansas City raised more food than at any of dozens of other Cranksgiving events around the country. At least by weight.

So here's the deal: Cranksgiving is about raising food and necessaries for St. Peter's Catholic Church's social services. You get a list of ten stores, and a list of things the food pantry needs. Fastest one to get to all ten stores, buy an item off the list from each and return with the receipts to prove it, that's your winner. Well, your winner for fastest. If you're really into speed, there's a team that just goes on a big fast group ride in a peloton and comes in with a bunch of cash, and that's cool too.

And that's all well and good. But then there's a category for Heaviest Load. And that generates even more donations because you don't have to be fast, you just have to be willing to pull/haul incredible amounts of weight almost a mile. There's an Aldi down the hill from St. Peter's and it's like 0.9 miles each way. Going down is a piece of cake, but once you have, in my case this year 74 pounds of canned food, flour, cooking oil and whatnot in your panniers, you get a good cardio climbing back up.

I don't know if other cities have a Team Heaviest Load category but that seems to be where St. Peter's is really cleaning up. Team Big Grin, named for our late friend Joel who died a couple years back, they've made a real project out of Team Heaviest Load.

In fact, me and Corinna's trailers were improved for hauling purposes for free by Paul from Team Big Grin but the condition was he got to use them for Cranksgiving. So while I was once again on my friend Eric's Team Hydra, two trailers that are normally in my basement were hauling incredible amounts of stuff up the hill for Team Big Grin.

They're pushing the envelope of what's possible, Team Big Grin. Teams are limited to eight riders, so you can only compete by growing your posse up to a point. Us Hydrates managed to haul back almost 500 pounds of food, and we were briefly in the lead. Then Team Cobra Kai more than doubled our haul, and then Big Grin. Well, those maniacs accounted for more than a ton, roughly 2,200 pounds of canned veggies, macaroni & cheese, laundry detergent, you name it. If it was dense, they had it on their trailers. That's an average of roughly 275 pounds per person.

I heard we had over 150 riders this year, and the overall haul was somewhere near four tons.

Add to that an after party with a chili potluck, a live band and plenty of free beer, who would want to miss Cranksgiving?

And of course I had fun playing with my camera. I'd brought everything, didn't bring in the diffusers and reflectors and tripods from the car, just my heavy-ass bag of lenses and speed lights.

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