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My 1st Alleycat
30.11.05 by Buffalo Bill

…so now it was time to race the Alleycat. I hadn’t really had time to think about what the race itself might be like. But now, with the race start only minutes away, I was very apprehensive and even, yes, I admit it, scared.

The whole idea was completely insane. 50 messengers, most of whom would be stoned, drunk or perhaps tripping, were going to race through the downtown area at night from a mass start. I was sure that someone was going to end up horribly maimed, if not disfigured beyond all recognition.

As race time got nearer and nearer, I got more and more nervous. Someone was going to die, what the f*** did we think we were doing, this was mad crazy irresponsible, had we all turned into lemmings? What was wrong with us, wasn’t it dangerous enough at work without adding to the risk in this ill-conceived, ill-advised, utterly stupid adventure?

When we got to the start, the party was in full swing. The adrenaline and testosterone were flowing as freely as the beer. The mood amongst the messengers milling around the bar was becoming more and more frenzied; many riders were openly foaming at the mouth.

After a few minutes I was incoherent with anticipation and fear. I was off my head with terror; either the race was going to start very soon, or else someone was going to have to restrain me with heavy bondage and major tranquilizers.
pic: Elisabeth Blanchet

The race start itself was chaotic; the disorganizer was trying to make sure that everything was ready for action when somebody said: “f*** it, let’s go, man”, so we did.

The pack exploded onto the main drag in a blur of pedals, spokes and flashing lights. I started at the back and as I turned I could see the bunch swarming through the gridlock ahead of me.

Somebody ahead of me ricocheted off a car and stacked it. For a brief moment, I visualized the possible carnage: bodies everywhere, twisted metal, fleets of ambulance arriving to collect the dead and dying… then the adrenaline hit my system and swept away all my fears, doubts and most of my common-sense. I threw myself and my bike into the melee.

~This an edited version of an article that first appeared in Moving Target Spring 95 issue. ~

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