Maybe I’m just getting old, but this winter seems like it was the hardest I’ve ever experienced. Along with a near constant barrage of ominously named winter storms, the Weather Channel kept reminding me that it was something called the Polar Vortex that was keeping the air temperature far below zero, not to mention the wind chill factor.
And so here I am writing this a few days before the vernal equinox, lamenting the added pounds around my waist and the lack of snap in my legs. Taking the long way home has been a wretched thought the past few months, whereas the lure of takeaway curry and kung fu movies on Netflix has become increasingly hard to resist.
Domestically, outlaw bike races have enjoyed an off-road, off-stage spotlight since the days of the Repack events on Mount Tamalpais back when Saber Tooth Tigers and Woolie Mammoths roamed the earth. Alleycats have been an urban cycling mainstay for almost two decades. In that time, roving bands of cyclists have eschewed traditionally organized events with insurance coverage and astronomical entry fees. The Bay Area has long been the home for off the grid events in every discipline of bike racing, and having a long and sordid history with these races, I was intrigued when Minneapolis resident and All-City Brand Manager Jeff Frane began organizing his own cyclocross series through the network of roads and trails along little traveled banks of the Mississippi River. Having watched the development of his races from afar, I was thrilled that one was to coincide with a previously scheduled trip to the Twin Cities.