Better late than never, right?
I apologize for taking an extra 2 weeks to post the results from the SMSW4 race, back in early December. The holiday noose started to tighten much earlier than usual, and before I knew it I was procrastinating left and right.
Spencer and I headed over to the start about an hour early, as is now the tradition. We sat and watched as cyclists started showing up at the Bow and Arrow, and as we waited the clouds lifted (as is also now the tradition – we’ve had good weather in early December for four years in a row now!) By the time Kacey and the other organizers showed up to set up registrations, we had a full on crowd bustling at the seams. We broke up into 4 lines and started registering all of the racers and before I knew it, we ran out of spokecards and soon ran out of stickers. My line was not dying down, and neither were the others, and we had already checked in about 50 people — assuming each line took in as many people, we had easily broken all of our Attendance Records! We registered a total of 198 people! Just 2 shy of 200.
Everyone was eager to start, so we separated the racers from their bicycles, a la Le Mans style. We then handed out manifests, explained rules, and yelled “GO!” If you have not yet had the pleasure of being part in such a mass of people when they all take off down the road, you are missing out — seeing about 200 people hopping to their bikes, then zooming out onto the EMB is certainly one of the best sensual experiences in the world: bright colors blending into a blur, the squeals and peels of laughter and tires as the racers take off, the smell of newly formed perspiration the instant it wettens a merino base layer, even the taste of the air as it vibrates with the energy of all these people… it is a true slice of joy.
After the Big Moment, things quieted down a bit. We decided we needed some coffee, so Steve gave a demonstration on the weight-capacity of his front rack. First he gave Spencer a speedy lift, then, remembering that my broken hip has left me with a bit of a limp Steve came back for me like a true gentleman. He pedalled me 2 blocks, with Spencer jogging behind: A brief bit of fun before the real work for the day starts. This race is a bit different as far as organizing goes – while none of us have to actually sit and be bored at “checkpoints” all day long, we do have a serious rush at the finish line as all 198 people come in with bags (and cargo bikes) full of groceries that need to be weighed, organized, and properly notated by the helpers. It is about 2 hours of non-stop intensity, so the half hour of quiet with two buds was a nice way to start the day.
Spencer and I then made our way over to the SF Food Bank, where the rest of the organizers were already getting ready. I paused for a bit to take some medicine, and as I was doing so I noticed two cyclists down the road on what appeared to be cargo bikes. Thinking they couldn’t be racers, the race had just started, there was no question who they were: Erik Zo and Sara! I yelled a hearty “Yo, Zo!” and gave a wave, and motioned with my hand to see if he’d like to come share a puff with me. It was no surprise when he raised his hand to expose his own spliff, which he was enjoying while riding. He smiled, I smiled, and like that he was gone.
On account of our late arrival to the food bank, Spencer and I were forced to wear the DFL-Volunteers costumes, provided by the foodbank.
From that point, all we had to do was wait until the first racer arrived. And, like last year, he showed up a lot quicker than any of us had expected. And, like last year, Grey was just a hair behind him. And, like last year, the first finisher was on a fixed gear bicycle (a thought that still warms my heart – as almost all races these days are won on road bikes). To Adam and Grey – congratulations.
With the Speed category hemmed up, we waited for the Cargo finishers who generally take a bit longer, due to their huge loads. The first few to show up were smiling friends: Dave and Joshua.
While Dave was the reigning cargo champion for three years running, he was a bit modest with his haul this year. Instead, he had a lot of fun building what looks to be one of the most amazing cargo-truck-track-bikes around. We are really hoping he will provide CZ with a full write up and build report down the line, it is a sweet machine. Dave was aware of a shortage of protein at the foodbank so he took it upon himself to load up on as many tubs of Baked Beans as he could, and thanks to his Track-Truck he was able to cart in enough to fill a few bathtubs.
With Dave checked in and on his way to the afterparty, there was only one last contestant to arrive and we all knew he would be a big one. Jeremiah, who has been a huge supporter of our race for all four years, astonished us with his “Oregon Trails” wagon-type bike trailer, which was built by Reuben Margolin, with the help and sponsorship of the Bike Kitchen. He pulled up and weighed his haul… let’s just say that this one man dragged in almost a full 1,000 pounds of food. This is all in the name of good fun, but we should never forget the end result of this race: Providing food for the needy. Jeremiah has proved, again, what the spirit of giving actually looks like: a bit of pain, and a huge huge huge grin.
That is not all, but that is all I have time to write. These numbers should speak for themselves:
2006: 80 racers brought in 1,172 lbs of food!
2007: 110 racers brought in 1,595 lbs of food!
2008: 150 racers brought in 5,266 lbs of food!
2009: 198 racers brought in 7,507 lbs of food!
If you want to see all of the photos of the race, please check out this link here.
If you want to read more about the race, the sponsors, and anything else, check the blog out: