"How’s Your Dick?": The Rise And Fall Of An Alleycat Race
February 7, 2015 - Picnic Time
“Stupor Bowl is dead,” Gene Oberpriller conspicuous after a 18th annual alleycat bike race. The fact that you—hopelessly mainstream as we are—are reading this is proof. As any nightclub owners will confirm, subterraneous cachet is a frail beast. It’s customarily minutes, or entries in this case, between a insiders who settle a quirky eventuality and a companies who kill it.
The Stupor Bowl, presumably a second-oldest and positively one of a largest alleycat throwdowns in a country, upped a contrarian quotient by holding place on a Saturday before a Super Bowl, in Minneapolis. Oberpriller is a post of a Twin Cities’ bike village and co-owner of One on One Bicycle Studio, for many years a rallying indicate for Stupor Bowl.
Alleycat bike racing was hatched to be all highway racing is not. Bike races are rarely organized, corporate-sponsored, costly undertakings. Alleycats are cheap, of- and by-the-rabble affairs, hatched by bike messengers and angry, sorry, civic cyclists. Roads are close down to automobile trade for bike races. Alleycats are coincidental with automobile traffic: Sometimes there are co-incidents with automobile traffic. (People have been killed.) Bike races follow a designed track with, hopefully, no stops between start and finish. Alleycat racers establish their possess track between checkpoints, holding into comment traffic, off-road shortcuts, turf and, sometimes, ethanol consumption. Bike racers are sleek, chiseled machines—branded, shrink-wrapped, shiny. They train, work out, stretch, watch what they eat. Alleycatters are actively ungroomed and preference a crime stage of incompatible clothing, many of it unwillingly chosen into use as athleticwear. They eat, usually. Their pre-race warmup consists of a drink and a smoke. Bike racers explain they’re clean. Substance use is tenderly hold as a trait by alleycatters—integral to training and racing, a source of pride. And, finally, for all a aforementioned reasons, bike races are authorised and unequivocally concerned of media attention. Alleycat races are not wholly legal, unwelcoming to media and diluted by hobbyists.
“Single-speed towering bike races went by a same thing 10 or 12 years ago,” pronounced Oberpriller. “Once corporate sponsors come in, and large money, hardcores are like, nah, this is done. Stupor Bowl will go on, of course, though hardcores will go elsewhere.”
The corporate subsidy he’s referring to is Chrome, a aggressively civic wardrobe and appendage emporium subsequent doorway to One On One, owned by outside tradesman Keen.
Follow me, associate ruiners, as we concurrently get a square of and assistance destroy an ill event. we did a small light powdering and vacuuming, and afterwards brisk on down to One On One. Snow was not a means this year, and 20-degree (above zero) temps were usually cold adequate to inspire lifelike layering and de rigueur shorts ‘n tights combo.
I followed tats and dreds and people wearing a diaphragm in their earlobes into Chrome and foolishly suggested we was a publisher seeking some story and quotes and stuff. Oblivious to my mistake pas, we dug out my turn cover and took down this quote from one of a dual dudes with poignant hair and relating Stupor Bowl hats: “We’re not unequivocally giving interviews.” Oh, awkward. A lady sitting subsequent to them smiled and kept smiling as we asked for a square of paper with a checkpoints on it. No, they couldn’t give that to me—that’s what we compensate $20 for! (That and a t-shirt.) Embarrassingly outed as an ignorant non-cyclist, a illusive narc, and hopelessly uncool, we struggled to put my turn cover behind in a backpack, as legitimate members of a bar shuffled me out of a way. The lady continued to grin as if to say, Fucking idiot.
Disgraced, we slunk to a behind of a emporium where Hairy Dude had vaguely invited me to “talk to anyone behind there.” Someone behind there was pouring fixedly, with a energy of 10,000 lasers, during his phone and a map of a Twin Cities. we chirped some questions though got one-word replies. He never looked up. Eventually, we did go away, shambling behind over to One On One where groups of people, mostly guys, again focused all of their remaining grey cells on phones, travel maps, and a piece of checkpoints. Rigidly progressing an haughty physique posture—backs turned, eye hit avoided, arms helmet their calculations like a second-grade exam paper—the few we managed to rivet gave demure answers though looking up, and afterwards immediately found that they had to go, somewhere else. we got a integrate cinema though—thanks Scum City and multi-plaid shirt Lightspeed guy!
As a journalist, Stupor Bowl was enormously unpleasant, and yet, by painfully extracted information, stalking, eavesdropping and shameless eyeballing, we collected that it would be fun to do. we mean, we suspicion so. Ergo, it’s ruination.
Here’s how it works: You bombard out your $20 and get a sheet, called a manifest, with 12 to 14 locations listed on it: Some are bars, some are businesses, some are front porches or parking lots. You can select to attend in a Stupor race—fewer checkpoints though a drink contingency be consumed to successfully finish a stop—or a speed competition that’s all about attack all a checkpoints in a slightest volume of time. Checkpoints can be achieved in any order, and in both Stupor and speed categories, a initial supplement behind wins. The esteem is a custom-embroidered follower bag and bragging rights. Riders, a integrate hundred usually, arrange in a alley behind One On One and are led to a undisclosed start plcae (by Hairy Dude who initial close me down, and who was a 2014 speed winner, and who got to establish this year’s checkpoints, and whose name was David Smith, and who is a roommate of a man we grilled) and also sensitive of a plcae of a one tip checkpoint on a list. This last-minute proclamation throws a wrench into racers’ delicately devised route. All told, racers cover 30 to 40 miles. As with many races, customarily a few participants are truly competitive; many are deeply committed to celebration and progressing a jot of balance. And of course, a after-party.
And vocalization of partying, one of a many garrulous participants we spoke with, rosy-eyed and loose, pronounced he was merely stability a celebration from a prior night. A koozie-swaddled Miller corroborated him up. A bike follower for 15 years, he’d come from Seattle to take partial in a Stupor category, and seemed unequivocally competent. He was a customarily chairman in a room not earnestly study a map—he left that to his “homeboy from Milwaukee,” motioning to another bearded man study a map, who won a Stupor difficulty final year. When we commented on a grievous distance of his follower bag, he pronounced it was full of beer, and pleasantly offering one. “I fucking got to fill my H2O bottle,” he intoned, and toddled off.
Last-minute lavatory visits were made, cigarettes rolled and reserve stowed as 1:00 rolled around. Out in a alley, riders stood astride their bikes and told stories about prior Stupor Bowls to set a tone, get in a mood. Here’s one that was within earshot:
“Man, that was a initial time we was severely disturbed about my junk. we got to somewhere in St. Paul and this man bending me adult with some socks. we pressed em down my pants though we was like, dude, I’m going to bail on you. It’s usually not value risking my dick, and we know, when we was sitting in this coffee shop, and we know, when things starts thawing out, we was like, Aaaarrrrwww. And people were like, ‘How’s your dick?'”
Just before they saddled up, many racers enjoyed a cigarette, a fume rising in gratifying plumes.
Having detected by heated over-the-shoulder eyeballing that one checkpoint was on my approach home, we hopped in my automobile and gathering true there. Two immature women, dressed in layers of sleepy nylon and acrylic, were backing adult cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon on a solidified cosmetic cruise table, so we sensed this contingency be a checkpoint. Their pleasure when they suspicion we was there to assistance make certain racers drank their drink and check off manifests with a Sharpie was customarily matched by a remarkable removal of mojo when we pronounced we was there to write about a goings on.
“What’s Deadspin?” one proffer asked.
I prattled on, relating a brush-offs I’d received. They looked nervous. One had ridden in Stupor Bowl before though a other usually favourite to hang around a bike shop. This cold proffer gig was her approach of being partial of a club. My teeth rattling, we pronounced we was going to wait in my automobile for a initial racers to appear.
I knew a checkpoint proffer was disturbed about carrying pronounced too much. She speckled me huddled in my 1995 Villager van, scurried by trade to a newcomer side window, scrunched down and showed her teeth, whipping her palm or spasming from a cold. One or a other. we fluttered back.
Here’s what we remembered she’d pronounced about since Minneapolis’ not-secret Stupor Bowl alleycat bike competition doesn’t like publicity—it’s since bike messengers, and civic bikers generally, don’t like it when cars cut them off, or expostulate on a road, or when drivers shake their fists and holler, “Stupid bikers!” when a unwashed man with a mini-fridge strapped to his behind scares a vital daylights out of them while they’re sitting during a stoplight obeying a manners of a road. See, drivers don’t like bikers and bikers don’t like drivers, this way-too-chatty checkpoint proffer told me. Furthermore, she said, this Stupor Bowl, with lots of haphazardly dressed people celebration and darting by trade competence be … competence expel bikers in a bad light.
Obviously, she wanted to strike this fraud from a record.
It got to be a small uncomfortable, me looking during her by a smeary window and her smiling and kind of lifting her eyebrows during me, so we got out. Easily a many aroused chairman for a slightest means I’ve ever interviewed, she asked me not to use what she’d spilled—like a stoolie, like a not cold person, like a totally normal accessible chairman who forgot to be rude—in my article. we pronounced we wouldn’t.