I just thought I'd share a quick recap of my first alleycat. I've been a bit gunshy about riding in one of these things, generally, just because I know from commuting and messengering a bit how dangerous riding hard in traffic can be. I overcame these fears last night though, and went out for an alleycat here in Chicago.
The race was short but very fast. Chicago is pretty flat, so aside from some sharp rises here and there (caused by bridges and overpasses), things were really very quick and smooth. I rode fixed and worked with another riding who was working SS. A third rider drafted behing the two of us but wouldn't take a pull during the entire ride (jerk). We rode hard from the start; I'm running a 48x17 and the rider I worked with was working 46x14 -- we charged hard at the start and dropped all but three other riders. One flatted crossing a steel bridge grate a little further in, and another lost too much speed in a sharp turn and fell off the back. We went throught the checkpoint and started back towards the finish. I got caught at a crucial moment taking a pull when I should have been drafting (the other rider knew a better route than I did); he pulled out behind me and turn (to be fair, he tried to tell me he was doing it so that I could come along, but there was too little time to adjust for the turn). I got stuck towing the mooch who had been behind us the whole way. My "teammate" finished first; I dropped the freeloader in the final two blocks on a hard, sprinting attack. I finished fourth overall, as two other riders got into the door of the bar before I did (one actually bunny-hopped the curb and then the three steps into the bar on his bike (a Felt with track drops -- it was pretty impressive). It was a blast.
Free PBR and pizza at the finish were a solid prize for all finishers. I don't know that 1, 2, and 3 actually got anything more than that (other than bragging rights). I'm definitely going out again for the next one. Now that I've had a taste of this, I'm sure I'll do it again soon.
On a side note, I also saw the new Batman last night. It was absolutely awesome. I'm psyched about the sequel (there has to be one).