The inaugural hallow’s eve alley cat race in Norfolk came off last night. It’s the first I know of that’s been done in the city. It was a pretty low-key affair that attracted about 21 riders with its guerrilla marketing, including seven guys who rolled down from Richmond. It was organized by a Navy guy who lives in West Ghent and says he used to race them when he lived in DC.
The crowd from Richmond brought the group to life, tossing back beers as we milled around at the start. Some of them even remembered it was Halloween. There was also some local color.
Liz and the rest of the Wednesday ride crowd called me at 8:50 from Cogan’s to ask what was up. I told them to come on, but they didn’t arrive in time for the start.
The race was short, featuring just six unmanned checkpoints over nearly seven miles. Each checkpoint was a bag of candy marked by a glow stick. From the end of the divided portion of Redgate Ave., the race shot down toward Lambert’s Point Docks, onto the Elizabeth River Trail and into Plum Point Park to the first bag on the anchor there. Back on the trail, we rolled to Colley Ave., then Front Street, to where the old jute warehouses have been demolished for the next bag. During this stretch my phone rang. I presumed it was Liz, but I couldn’t stop to answer. By this checkpoint, myself and a rider from Richmond named Luke have gapped the rest of the group. Since the next checkpoint was at Nauticus, we shot over the Brambleton Bridge and down the cobbles of York Street, through the condos, past the Pagoda and by the battleship Wisconsin to the empty bag in middle of the traffic circle there. Someone scored a bad of candy.
Luke and I flew up Boush Street with him glued to my wheel, enjoying my local knowledge of where to go next, which was the horse statue in front of the Chrysler Museum. From there we cut through the Hague neighborhood to Colonial Ave. Luke offered to take a pull if I’d tell him where to turn. I was more than happy to agree since I’d been going all out trying to shake him. He pulled all the way up to 20th Street where we cut in front of Liz’s car, bike on the roof. Sorry Liz. We rolled down 20th to Core and out to 21st for the fifth checkpoint outside the Taphouse. The last checkpoint was back by the Mallory pool. I pedaled down to Hampton Boulevard and lucked into there being no traffic. We shot across, cut through the neighborhood to the pool. I grabbed the candy and jumped, got a good gap on Luke and held it. I rolled to the finish in 19:52. Luke came across in 20:10. Then we sat there, gasping for breath, for six minutes until the next riders came in. And they too hit the ground gasping…
After everybody came in, we rolled over to Tortilla West for some post-race beers. I had fun. I wish Liz and more locals had shown up. It could have been a blast to have a lot of people out scrambling around on Halloween. Nice to meet you guys from Richmond. Glad you came down. You really made the race.