Instructed only to bring a bike and a carton of milk, I showed up at The Dutch Goose on Sunday to participate in the Warlocks Bicycle Club's 5th Annual Liverdance, an alley-cat style bike race through the streets of Boise. It seemed like a good way to meet some new people, learn some new shortcuts through town and get a little exercise. It turned out to be a really good way to have fun while experience crippling chest pain.
After milling about for a half hour or so, playing horseshoes and drinking discounted leftover green beer from Saint Patrick's Day, the roughly 70 participants, were issued numbered wristbands, and told to get their milk ready. Race organizers then filled up a bowl of cereal for every participant to finish before they would be issued the route.
I took the bowl of cereal like a shot, ran to my bike, then pedaled furiously down the Greenbelt toward the first stop at The Firemen's Memorial. The Great Lung Rebellion of March 2010 didn't signal the start of trouble so much as being passed by two guys riding a single-speed tandem bike did.
The real problem was, that if I fell too far behind, being new to town, I might not be able to find the next stop. That meant, ability to breathe or not, heart exploding in my chest or not, I had to keep up. Luckily, at the check-in behind the dumpster for The Fireside Inn on State Street, I found a few other stragglers whose philosophy was more relaxed.
"These other guys all have some illusions of winning this thing," said Andy, a 28-year old butcher from The Bench. "I'm not in this to win; I'm in it to have fun."
Andy and friends let me tag along, stopping for a drink at O'Michael's, and chatting with the bartender, before another check-in spot in the Northend, where race participants had to make a hockey shot, or be penalized 12 ounces of Hamm's. I made my second shot, and only had to drink half.
About this time, I started having drunken fantasies of the race being between classy restaurants, each of which serves one course of a formal dinner to sweaty, tattooed miscreants, before they rush back into traffic on their way from appetizer to salad stops. This will probably never happen. But it got my mind off the taste of Hamm's.
In the end, we all tied for 38th in the men's, colloquially known as dead last. We arrived back at The Dutch Goose just in time to see the winner being awarded a half gallon of Jose Cuervo, a third of which was gone within 10 minutes. All in all, it was a pretty good day.