April 2, 2006 at 11:10 pm in Biking in LA
I started the day by forgetting to Spring forward. On my way to Echo Park, whilst mounting my bike when a light turned green, I ripped a 10″ hole in my shorts. When I got to the park I was greeted by Mack, Eric and Will and shortly after that my portrait was taken by a photog with a battery powered inkjet printer in tow. In said picture, I looked like a mutant squinting pirate, despite the fact that our team was not the arrrr’ing one. Furthermore I blew it when I passed on the free vegan tamales and beer.
Our first clue had something to do with a lost bear to whom we needed to bring 5 bags of pasta. We made a quick stop at the non-chain 99¢ store and bought their 4 remaining bags of pasta and a tub of instant ramen and headed on to the zoo to feed the hungry lost bear.
When we arrived at the old zoo we saw a cadre of cyclists gathering around a girl wearing a fuzzy bear suit. We presented our noodles in exchange for the next clue which required that either every member of our team kiss and polaroid a total stranger on the lips or that we head to a salon at Sunset Junction and have one team member’s hair cut. Supposedly, the stylist would have complete control as to how our hair was cut. Not wanting to offend my fiance by having my picture taken kissing a stranger on the mouth, I opted for a newly styled doo. The woman at the salon warned me that they were shaving heads bald, but I went for it anyhow and asked for an inverse faux-hawk which I must say, came out splendidly.
Our next clue was located at 7th and Alvarado where, behind the chain 99¢ store we were to look for a statue of the “woman who made all of Mexico cry.” After a bit of wandering around we found a two dimensional peeling “statue” of Selena and were presented the next clue. We were instructed to first buy a box of tampons and then head to the Disney Concert Hall.
After the slog up to the hall, part of which I walked my fixie, we were given the second part of the clue, to head down 1st betwixt Alameda and Santa Fe where we exchanged our bounty of feminine hygiene products for the next clue which required us to ride our bikes, taking long way, to Chinatownland. At this point I was seriously contemplating turning around and going home, mostly due to the fact that my quads were cramping on every uphill, the blisters on each palm, serious chafing due to only my boxers separating me from my new Brooks and the gaping whole in my shorts that ran from my lower right leg to my crotch. I decided to ride on.
The long way to Chinatown in this case was over the 1st street bridge, left on Mission, left on Ceasar Chavez and right on N. Broadway as opposed to the short way which would have entailed heading straight down Alameda. For those of you who don’t know, the current Chinatown is what used to be Little Italy, the original Chinatown was at the current site of Union Station and the real Chinatown in actually Monterey Park.
Upon finding out contacts, a short man and a tall man with a handlebar mustache, Will proceeded to sing a rousing rendition of Devo’s Whip It all the while doing a very hip, but not hipster dance. With much fanfare we copied the directions to the next clue at which point I allowed Will to convince me to stick with it and we headed up Sunset on our way to an incredible 33% grade hill, known as Fargo.
After walking my bike most of the way up Sunset due to my excruciating quad cramps, it was after all that time of the month, I thought long and hard about the last leg of the journey up the hilly Alvarado and decided to turn tail and run ala brave Sir Robin. Looking back on it, I wish I had just endured the pain and made it to the end, but I realize that would not have been a wise decision as I still would have had to ride home.
Mack was one of the only people who actually rode up Fargo this weekend and I envy him for that, but at the same time… he has gears. I just want to give a shout out to my team members and all the other riders who made it through the whole scavenger hunt. Bravo, and next year I’ll see you at the end!
Keep an eye out for live action photos of my inverse faux-hawk and my ass ventilated pants!