Oh, Stupor Bowl. I agree with Lowrah on a few counts here. Stupor Bowl was much more awesome than I knew it could be (she may have already figured that out), I'm a little inspired to ride next year, and it is time to hear from to hear from some of the women.
Up today is a race report from Lee Penn, who finished third in the women's speed race. Lee races her bikes on all sorts of courses ('cross, road, alley cat, dirt) in all sorts of weather [video is uncaptioned KARE-11 coverage of the MN State Cyclocross Championship, which took place in the snow this year]. She's one of our go-to people when it's time for the winter skill share and has written about winter handling skills here before (spring might be almost here, but there's still time to grab a little bit of a winter ride).
The image shows two bikers standing late at night on the edge of a snow-lined street. In the foreground is a yellow utility pole with a snow-encrusted bike leaning against it. The cyclists look as if they may be having a conversation. On the left is a man in a gray jacket and red helmet. He is facing Lee, who is wearing a yellow jacket and olive green backpack with reflective stripes. Lee is leaning on her bike with her back to the camera.
A Race Report by Lee Penn
I’d thought about racing Stupor Bowl over the last few years, but this was my first time actually racing it. Even earlier in the week, I was unsure about racing, considering all kinds of options, including the Loppet Ice Bike race, which is always on the same day as Stupor Bowl and I did last year.
What had I heard about Stupor Bowl? Loads of drinking… and fun… but really not much else. So, I had no clue what I was getting myself into.
Friday night, we had seven eight and nine year old boys over for my son’s birthday sleep-over party. So no pre-party and little sleep the night before. The next morning, the extra boys went home, and we went to hockey. After arriving home – tired child and mama – my better half and I agreed that Stupor Bowl was in the cards.
The bike I chose for the race? My 1970s Fuji single speed commuter. I knew the time limit would be three hours. So, I figured I’d be racing for 2 hours… give or take. So, single speed commuter should be fine, right? I love that bike – I ride it a ton, but it’s a bit slow and heavy… Never thought I’d be racing for nearly 3.5 hours! Hind sight? Gearing was a bit too light, knobbies were not necessary, and the bike was NOT ideal for this race.
As I geared up to leave, I stuffed a spare shirt and two pairs of gloves into my back pack (for which I was GRATEFUL later). With temps in the 20s, I knew that cold would not be a factor for me. I did stuff a pair of hand warmers into my cycling boots – left over from a friged hockey game a couple of weeks prior (putting partially used hard warmers into an air tight jar lets you use them again!).
I arrived at One on One at around 1:30p, and I received my manifest. I hadn’t a clue as to where Gramercy was, but JW very kindly gave me a clue as well as a more detailed map than the one I had brought along (thank you Jeremy!!!!). I wrote up my routing, promising myself that I would check at each and every stop so as to minimize mistakes!
After a while, the mystery start was announced as Kenwood Park, and so we rolled out. The leaders pretty much dropped everyone at red lights in downtown, but we all ended up in the right place. There was a lot of jockeying for position – my eye was on the speedster Jana… and Chelsea… as well as a couple of other women. We played a little in the snow… I tried to take down my friend David… That was fun. Eventually, I felt impatient about waiting for the start.
But, then we were off! Running through the snow. I ran through the deep snow for a bit, but then jumped into the foot path trench. But then a dude in front of me started WALKING – I expressed my dissatisfaction with his speed…. Uhm – not exactly polite about that… (sorry dude). Anyway, if you look at a photo from the start, you can see the 1-2-3 females right there in front – Chelsea, Jana, and me. After getting onto my bike, I immediately knew I had chosen the wrong bike as guys were passing me because I had spun out on my too light of a gear. DARN IT!
My routing was pretty tight for manifest one –I followed Jana for the route over to Gramercy – until Behind Bars. What – do I have a mental block against routing anything that’s north or north east? Egads. I blew it up there, and I had to correct overshooting Behind Bars by about 5 blocks.
When I got to Varsity, and I was directed to the basement. There, I smelled some delightful mind altering substances and chili. I was offered some chili, which I declined. Stamp – done. As I’m heading for Trash Bags, I see people riding around with rims, and I wonder, why are they riding along with rims? Not everyone was, so I decided that rims were for stupor and not for speed.
I produced my completed manifest and my wooden coin from the Alt and received my second manifest. This manifest required us to complete the stops in order. I partnered up with a dude – Brandon – for a bit. When we were going to Pizza Luce, we overshot, and I said – hey Pizza Luce … he said no One on One… I turned back to go to Pizza Luce – MISTAKE because they were not actually checking order? What? Anyway… only lost 2-3 blocks for that one… Re-met up with Brandon later at Trash Bags, and we partnered up again for a bit. He was a nice dude – he had gears tho.
When I got the third manifest, Brandon and I worked out a route… And I knew that I was gonna be TIRED after this race. In fact, we suspected that we might not finish before the 6pm deadline! I changed into dry gloves (my hands run HOT). We headed out… Oh were we both relieved when we found out we would not have to sled down that hill and run back up it!!! Woot woot!
Then we’re off to Angry Catfish, where I’m told that I’m one minute behind Jana and that that the volunteers have been instructed to wait until the women’s podium has come through. I knew Chelsea was quite a bit ahead of me – Jana in second – me in third. We head to Sunrise, and on our way, Brandon tells me he’s done. We get to Sunrise, I get my stamp, and I rush off…. I get to the Hex, and I see Jana… I see Jana all the way to the finish, but she’s just fearless and smooth through the lights, whereas I’m a chicken! I roll into the Nomad just maybe one-half minute after her, got hung up at the door digging for my ID. I was generally quite pleased with my race – pleasant tired feeling overall – HUNGRYas all get out!!!.
I see one of my good friends at the bar – there’s some PBR (thanks!) and sandwiches (thanks!) upstairs – I cruise up there and change into a dry shirt – mmmmm – that felt GOOOOOOODDDDDD… go back downstairs – hang with my buddy… have some Jameson… some Red label (Thanks David!)… some Surly Abrasive (thanks Lokk!)… Won a pair of great new tires and a pannier set. Hung out with fabulous people (David, Lokk, Jen, Low, Chelsea, Jana, to name a few as well as some people who have names that I cannot remember)… All of that = a very happy Lee.
FINISH: probably close to 45 miles on single speed 1970s fuji equipped with knobbies, hungry, fried, toasted, happy, and ready for next year!
Oh – but I still don’t know who was supposed to get rims….