The alley cat scene is coming (back) to life here in Oregon. Portland alley cats of late have included the Kuchen-Rennen, the Fly-Cat, the Fashion-Cat, the hugely successful Cranksgiving, Freak Cross and the Cross Dress series. The last race I planned was in Eugene in '01 and sparked a tiny summer-long series of races (including a Cranksgiving). So, it felt like my turn to throw a race.
Opening my old alley cat scrapbook for inspiration launched me on my own short race down memory lane. I had completely forgotten about the great dancing cat graphic. So, once again, I found myself stopping at strange street corners looking for good graffiti, pouring over maps, cutting and pasting and printing a manifest.
My initial plan for checkpoint destinations fell apart so I started over the day before the race. Riding around in the rain during my commute, stopping here and there, taking pictures and creating a scramble puzzle word made me late to work. But I was able to pull it all together, even making copies just a short while before go time.
I moved to sit in the window, hoping to make racers scramble a bit more at the finish line to find me. 37 minutes later, two breathless boys were shoving crumpled manifests at me. First place Bruce said "with a flat!" as I graded his sheet. Scramble puzzle races are super easy for the organizer to judge, as you only need to look at one answer at the bottom of the page. All eight racers were in by 61 minutes after start, and all eight racers correctly answered DOLLS.
Alley cat racing is a communal effort so I know one of these racers will organize their own race soon. Kyle (second place, winner of Fly-Cat and Fashion-Cat) announced that the West Side Invite will take place July 4th, 5th and 6th and will include the infamous Coffee Cat, where I DFL'ed almost a decade ago.