Yesterday, my riding partner, and about 1,500 people asaulted the roads of Denver. It was a fun experience. I should do things like this more often.
About a month ago, a twitter friend and fellow bicycle enthusiast, Lesley asked if anyone would want to ride the Urban Assault Ride with her. Looking to do more social and outdoor activities, I said yes. Thankfully, she picked me.
The Urban Assault Ride is a kind of bike scavenger hunt put on by New Belgium Brewing. Although, when I said “scavenger hunt” to people, the first thing they associated with that is a typical look for things scavenger hunt. It’s more like a local version of the show The Amazing Race. You and your partner ride around the city making stops at checkpoints to do little tasks. The tasks were super easy. In fact, they were much easier than I expected. The reason you do this kind of thing is to have fun. And fun it was.
I’m kind of a night owl. Blame my job. Knowing that I had to be there at 8am didn’t make sleep easier. I kept waking up every hour, worried that I would sleep in and miss it. I think I got about 5 hours of sleep over all. I planned on taking the bus to the starting point downtown. But, I missed it. Oh well. Riding would be a good warm up and it’s all down hill from the house. I got there at 8:15. I think a few minutes ahead of Lesley. We found each other across 16th St. in the bike storage area then made our way over to the waiting area. We were in the second wave of starters. While waiting, we got a good look at the people around us. Mostly athletic bicyclist types. What’s fun at these kind of activities are seeing the people dressed up in costumes. The best we did was agree to wear white shirts. Lesley had borrowed a helmet cam from a friend. I can’t wait to see how that turns out.
This is what we had to do at the checkpoints:
1. slip and slide
2. rebuild the clifbar logo in blocks and then hold it above our heads (probably the one that took the longest)
3. diving after beer cans in a swimming pool
4. three legged little obstacle course
5. big wheel race
6. I had to drive a bike while Lesley ripped flags off people’s waists. Oh yeah. She was riding on the handlebars.
7. Lesley had to shoot a shoe to me using a bike tube. Wow. She’s amazingly accurate!
There were two mystery checkpoints. They give you a clue before hand. And when you get there, they give you a clue to the second one. I don’t think it took Lesley even a tenth of a second to decipher the clue to the second one. It turned out to be a bike shop on Platte.
I’m not much of a talker. But, after riding with Lesley a few times now, I think the first thing she’d tell you is how much I talk. Maybe I don’t like riding silently with someone. Whatever it is. We got a chance to get to know each other better between the check points. She’s a really cool person.
And yes. I did get a flat tire. It was between the pool and the checkpoint at Wheat Ridge Cyclery. Thankfully, it held air long enough to borrow Lesley’s air pump and quickly ride out in front of her to beat the leak. Once at the bike shop, I asked them to fix it while we did the checkpoints there. Somewhat good timing. I should have brought tools with me. But, I didn’t want to bring my big bulky backpack. I think one of my next purchases will be a camelback. That way I can put my tools and little things in it. I was super envious of Lesley’s. Funny that they remembered me. It’s my neighborhood shop. And it’s where I bought the bike.
Being a team ride and only riding with Lesley once before this event, I knew it was important to stick together. I didn’t know if she would be a stronger rider than me. Or me stronger than her. When you say it’s a race, it is technically. But, do you really care? Not really. But, there were a couple of straight aways where I shot in front of her a little. We were both on single speeds. And I’m probably more used to it than she is. I kept looking back on the straightaways to make sure she was behind me. When I noticed she wasn’t there, I pulled up and stopped pedaling. No need to be a jerk. She’s no slouch though. There were a couple of times when she took the lead and I had a hard time catching her. And I think she handles hills better than me. She’s also better disciplined when it comes to stopping at lights. That’s probably my biggest take away from yesterday.
One fellow cyclist and twitter friend said that he did it and gave it a 5 out of 10. I think I know what he means. The check points were mostly a joke. But, you know what? Who cares. It’s fun. That’s why you do it. I’d give it a 7 out of 10. I guess I value fun over competition.
Would I do it again? I think so. I now know what to expect a little more. And I’m always up for a fun day on the bike.