The first annual Prospect Park Winter Push Race debuted on Friday, February 25, as 2011′s first NYC push race of the year. It was a great success, and we had what felt like about 50 guys and girls take part during this gruesomely windy and wet night. Didn’t stop anyone from showing up ready to rock and roll, though the cold definitely served as a catalyst to a little bit of a premature start–they left Evan Armbrister and I while we were tying our shoes and started the race without us!
How that happened is still a little beyond me…we were both going to race in our Vibram toe-shoes but we got cold feet (!!!) and decided to go back to shoes as everyone was gathering at the entrance of the park to head toward the start line. I was the first to finish tying my shoes, and I looked up and then saw everyone take off. I sorta paused for a moment and looked at Evan and said “Are they starting the race?” and he agreed that yep, that looked like people were trying to go fast…that was a race start. I probably yelled some expletive, grabbed my backpack and my Kombucha and headed toward the start line while Evan was finishing tying (sorry buddy). I don’t know how much time either of us lost, but we definitely had a large gap to close up.
I sprinted for as long as I possibly could…until I made it into 3rd place and I could just barely see Adam Crigler and Enrique Cubillo (the artist formerly known as Captain America) in the distance, and then I bumped into this hill in the park with a nice headwind and I think a bear may have jumped out of the woods and onto my back. The rest of the race is a bit blurry. I spent chasing something that was never going to come back to me. I closed a little bit of a gap on Adam during the last lap, but I would go in spurts and then not have anything left in me and that gap would widen again. I thought right toward the end that I might have a chance at bringing him back within striking distance during the last uphill, but then as he crested the hill and I was still going up, the gap got wide again, and I realized it was over. Third place finish for me…pretty much never saw Enrique except at about a quarter of the way into it right before my run-in with the mysterious Prospect Park bear.
I crossed the finish line a little disappointed. I really wanted to see what Enrique had in him, more than anything. I didn’t know he was going to show up…he’s an elusive character, or has been up to this point, and only about 20 minutes before the race started did I know he was there and was racing. For those of you who don’t know the story behind this guy, he essentially won (in my eyes) the Broadway Bomb but disqualified himself when he flipped on Adam for skitching to the win at the Bomb and didn’t show up to the awards ceremony. Adam was DQ’ed for skitching, and as far as I know, the race was Enrique’s for the taking at that point had he made an effort to take it. Bottom line: the dude is 47 years old, tough as nails, has a history in bike racing, and is going to show us all a thing or two this year–I am very confident of that.
But hey, that’s how races go sometimes…I’ve got a history of screwed up race happenings that I’m subconsciously trying to keep going into the present, and the good news for me was that despite a late race start, after crossing that line a bit disappointed because of how it all went down, I kept watching racer after racer, friend after friend, cross that line stoked as all hell, and that stuff is contagious. My mood elevated from tired, disappointed, and feeling like I was going to puke to slightly less tired, extremely grateful of all the incredible people around me, and still feeling like I was going to puke, and on a scale of 1-10, I was feeling like an 11 by the time the awards ceremony came around.
I had a good chat with Enrique heading back up the slide hill about training and this awesome race happening in May 188 miles across Georgia and Alabama over 3 days being put on by Marion Karr. What is this thing? A race? A real race? How are we going to handle racing 94 miles back on the 3rd day after 2 gruesome race days of 40 and 54 miles? Are we going to DIE?!!!!! These were some of the things going through our heads. But hey, we’re committed, and we want to see what’s possible, and this is a step to finding out. I definitely plan on doing some training runs with Enrique over the coming weeks to try to prepare for this event.
Then came some sweet sliding by the Earthwing dudes. Steve Kong and Andriy were tearing it up as usual, and many others were showing off their skills as well. The awards began, and here is where I really was feeling the love. The race was organized by Push Culture (is it News or Apparel? I don’t know!) with sponsors from Uncle Funky’s, Bustin Boards, Rayne Longboards, Atobe Wheels, Earthwing, and Push Culture Apparel. A Longboard Larry Komodo deck from Unchle Funky’s was awarded to Enrique for the win, Adam and I received some sweet Push Culture longsleeve shirts (equipped with a stash pocket!!!) for 2nd and 3rd place, Cami Best was awarded a Kombucha Brew Kit for 1st place girls and Maribeth McHugh received some dope Atobe Bonneville wheels for 2nd place girls.
My favorite story of the night occurred when Travis and Brian Davenport announced the winner of the new Bustin Ibach deck, who’s name was drawn out of a hat. Congratulations go out to Yonkers’ local shredder, Michael, who came to the shop looking for an Ibach earlier in the day. At the time, I had to tell him that I was sorry, the Ibachs were not ready for sale in the shop yet. I could see he was disappointed, but then it dawned on me to tell him that yo, we are donating a final prototype Ibach for a race that we just so happened to be attending later that night. I told him if he won, he would probably get the deck. He and his friend were stoked and decided to attend on a whim. The stars aligned for Michael that Friday night, and he received an early birthday present in the form of a brand spankin new Bustin Ibach, and the cheese he unleashed put a smile on every face in the entire crowd. A beautiful story…the board couldn’t have gone in better hands. Look for this green machine speeding through the hills in Yonkers alongside his friend, Matt, who just purchased a sick Rotule Dancer from the shop today. I grabbed a picture…the smile is still there, and as you can see, it’s contagious.
All in all, an awesome way to start the racing season of 2011, and an incredible first event put on by the guys and girl over at Push Culture. Thanks to Travis, Brian, and Jenica Davenport for all your hard work (and my sweet shirt) and all the sponsors for the swag! And thanks to Annah Rowe for the pics in this blog. And thanks to everyone who came out on this cold, wet and windy night that made this event such a success! Let’s keep the ball rolling. Next stop: East Coast Longboard Tradeshow and Concrete Wave Reader’s Choice Awards at the brand new Longboard Loft in Lower East Side Manhattan on Friday, March 11, and the 2011 Warriors Race Saturday, March 12, a 26 mile race from Van Cortland Park in the Bronx to the Cyclone in Coney Island. WARRRRRIORRRRRRRRS! COME OUT TO PLAYEEEEEYAYYYYYY!