On Saturday September 11, 2021 San Jose Fixed Gear presents the 15th Anniversary Alleycat Race. Registration begins at 11am at the Plaza de César Chávez. Race begins at 12noon. Race ends at 3pm with prizes and raffle to follow. Fixed Gear/ Single Speed bikes only. $10 entry fee per 2-person team.
This will be a DOUBLES alleycat race where each team will consist of two riders. Checkpoint clues will be given on our IG page instagram.com/sanjosefixedgear in the days leading up to the event. Golden route will put you under 30 miles to finish. Race will finish at 3pm.
Finish line and post race happenings are T.B.A. (We might be getting a potluck together)
To set the scene, we had been checking the forecast several times throughout the day in the week leading up to the event. Even on that Saturday morning, we still had rain coming down until about 10:00 AM. Daily anxiety for sure, but in the end the skies cleared. It turns out the fixie gods wanted this event to go on, but not until the track on Swift Avenue was washed clean. The track was a 0.2 mile segment on a street that was sandwiched between cars speeding down Capitol Expressway and private planes taking off at Reid-Hillview Airport. We couldn’t have picked a better spot. We did however wish we were on the other side of this pandemic, but fortunately for us our cycling family values our community’s health. Just about everyone set a great example masking up and keeping distance from others. Someday we will be able to have a proper after party but today we kept our planning focus on the race and safety.
Sprints are a special thing because during an alleycat race or a Tuesday Night Ride or even weekend rides there are plenty of times where you look at the riders next to you and wonder where you stand on the totem pole of speed. Not that we are overly competitive, but it would be nice to know given the chance to properly measure how fast one is. Luckily 37 racers from all over the bay, a crew of volunteers, and a fantastic group of vendors and sponsors came together to find out.
Some came to a SuperBowl Sunday Sprints preview the week prior to ride the track and calculate where would be the most strategic spot to put the best effort forward. One of those at the preview was our champion but we’ll get to that later.
After randomizing our list of racers, we started a qualifying round that had 4 to 5 racers in each heat. We had 9 heats and two racers from each heat advanced to the tournament. 1st and 2nd from each heat were put on opposite sides of the bracket.
The tournament was fun to watch, especially our cool down races that gave our riders time to rest between races.
The Weed Race was a crowd favorite because it gave our attendees a chance to sidewalk slam a beer, hop on their bike and race to the finish line where they could take home some of Yabba Dabba Extracts crumble samples. Yabba Dabba Doo! The winner of that race was Daniel. We had a longest skid contest where Nam slowly and smoothly skidded to victory. The wheelie race was something I really wanted to see this one make it down to the end of the race but Noah Lee made short work of just being the only one to hold the wheelie.
The Women’s bracket was fielded by 3 of our favorite bay area street riders. This was the closest finish we had all day where Bibi nearly took it from Natalia at the finish line but Natalia was able to get across the line by half a wheel. We had to look at it a few times and it’s easily our favorite IG story to watch.
The Overall bracket came down to some great races with Kevin Nguyen (San Jose) vs. Rony Guzman (San Mateo) and Taj (Oakland) vs Javier (San Jose). Taj and Kevin would advance to the Finals. Ultimately, Taj would beast through his out of saddle sprint for the 5th time earning the Overall Category Championship.
Here’s a link to the bracket to see how it broke down.
Each Champion took home $50, SJF mask and a choice of 2 items from the table. Prizes were distributed based on placing. There were so many prizes all of those that entered walked home with something from the table.
We took the after gathering to Park Station Hashery for a chill meal to end the day over smiles and beers.
Thank you again for coming out to support SJFixed events.
A big thank you goes out to our volunteers: Eli, Wagner, Mike P, JohnJohn, Mike, Tom, Kosal, Quincy, Devon, Martin, Drew and DeeMartez.
A huge thank you goes out to our sponsors San Jose Bicycles, Phil Wood and Co., Park Station Hashery, DELUXE Cycles, Bicycle Express, Retrogression, the Heavy Pedal, King Kog Oakland, Yabba Dabba Extracts, Palma Photography, Masks by @kosalflores, Tankshit Box Truck, AlleycatSewing, and @Nicorette666.
To celebrate 15 years of SJF we collaborated with local San Jose painter/artist/designer j.duh to create a simple but striking design to represent our fixed gear family. j.duh has been around since the early days of SJF and is stoked to see this community still thriving 15 years later. Go check out his website and also enjoy some of his works below.
Whether you were on OG from the way back or a newcomer fresh to to the locked cog, this shirt will definitely get you in the vibe.
ALL shirts will be printed using REFLECTIVE INK so that you will be visible while riding at night.
We picked a dope long-lasting shirt from to make sure that it lasts you through ALL the riding you will be doing.
Shirt description: Relaxed fit, Crew neck, Heavy weight, 6.5 oz/yd2, 22-singles 100% combed cotton (heathers 15% viscose) Neck ribbing, side seamed, shoulder to shoulder tape, double needle hems, preshrunk to minimize shrinkage
Shirts will be released at an event later in April for local pickup. Shipping costs are $5.00 per shirt.
What makes alleycats special is they are a bigger representation of what it’s like to ride a track bike in the moment. You have a general direction, forward, but so much depends on your ability to read and react and make split-second decisions deciding your fate or in this case the order you finish in. Riders zig-zagged across the downtown grid in search of San Jose legends; Babe the Muffler Man, Dollar Dan, Stephen’s’ Dancing Pig, the Neon Theater in Willow Glen, the elusive OSH Arrow and a final adult toys sign down San Carlos that asks the simple question “why not?”.
As our city landscape changes, we have these landmarks to remind us of who we are and where we came from. Orchard Supply Hardware went out of business not too long ago, but it’s enduring green and red neon reminds us that this valley was once covered in beautiful orchards. The park we gather at weekly for rides is itself a landmark named after a hometown hero that stood for farmworkers’ rights. Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic the Garden theater sign recalls a time when families would gather at the cinema when Willow Glen was not a part of San Jose and a thriving community on its own. Even the Y NOT sign takes us back to when the Bascom Avenue area was also booming and had a night life all of its own. Take the time to appreciate these signs and you will appreciate a little bit more the part that you have to play in San Jose’s history. If you want to live here, have your kids grow here it’s important to have a bit of perspective. Western Appliance, Stephen’s Meats, Dollar Dan … all businesses that have faded but their influence is remembered. You’ll be thankful for how far we’ve come and remember that those that pioneered this area were creative, innovative and making big moves in the world. A trend that would pave the way for San Jose becoming the capital of Silicon Valley. I thought it’d be a great idea for a theme for this race. It brought riders 15 yrs old to 50 yrs young out to have some fun on a Thursday night.
The sun began its journey west as riders arrived at the Chavez Park registration table. In the distance skaters and FGFS kids were ripping the plaza. The usual pre-game beer banter and track bikes spinning Fish ‘n’ Chips over the fountainheads made this meetup all too familiar. Yet today would be different. It was fitting that as competitors arrived the lights began to flicker and wake up signaling that nightfall was near. It set the scene for this high adrenaline tour showcasing a few of San Jose’s most historical signs. It’s showtime. The 6 stop manifests were handed out around 6:30 giving the 27 riders a blink of a moment to strategize their route plans.
When I put these stops together I wanted to make sure it could be completed in 90 mins. I didn’t imagine it would end victoriously for one rider in 36. Even though it was a short race, so much happens in the span of an hour that we end up trading tales over beers in the next months of routing mishaps, close encounters with automobiles, inevitable mechanical malfunctions. It’s my favorite part. That feeling of “we did it”, but also curious to know “how” it was done. It’s the time spent unraveling each riders story and how they make the leaderboard come alive.
Quincy took the top spot coming in a whole 2 minutes before the next rider displaying that he not only had the legs but the golden route to get it done on his own. Coming in hot in a pink kit at number two (and cursing one routing mistake that probably cost him the race) was an SJF OG Maurice who made the trip down from SF. He still got it. Ray aka “papifixed” zoomed in at number 3 finally silencing the haters. This young buck is indeed fast when it matters most. Johnny and Kevin, a dynamic duo were seconds behind in tow taking 4 and 5. I love that these dudes don’t always make it to TNRs but definitely put in the weekend work on the track bikes to take 2 spots in the top 5. The rest of the field would trickle in over the next few minutes but the top 5 definitely plenty in the tank to finish this zig zag sprint in quick time, some barely breaking a sweat!
The prize haul was composed of some very special pins from the Preservation Action Council of San Jose and some unique San Jose neighborhood stickers by DJ TooTall. Other prizes were from San Jose shops Bicycle Express, San Jose Bicycles, Phil Wood and Co. and restaurant Park Station Hashery, that offered 15% discount to all riders and volunteers. What can we say? We love our town. Other prizes included some dope shirts and cycling caps from DELUXE Cycles.
A big thank you goes out to our volunteers: Brandon, Eli and Charise, Albert, Devon, Natalia, Jesus, Bong, Drew, Joe P., Peter and Abe. Without your help, these events wouldn’t be possible.
A huge thank you goes out to our sponsors San Jose Bicycles, Park Station Hashery, DELUXE Cycles, Bicycle Express.
To our photographers Dan Salcedo and @fweago_photo for capturing this event on film, Thank YOU.
On Thursday March 11, 2021 San Jose Fixed Gear presents the Signs of the Times alleycat race. Registration begins at 6:00 at the Plaza de César Chávez. Race begins at 6:30 pm. Race ends at 8pm with prizes to follow. ALL bikes welcome! $5 entry fee.
This will be a traditional alleycat race with 5 checkpoints. Checkpoint clues will be given on our IG page instagram.com/sanjosefixedgear in the days leading up to the event and also at preservation.org. Golden route will put you under 12 miles to finish. Race will finish at 8pm.
Finish line and post race happenings will be at Park Station Hashery (1701 Park Ave San Jose, Ca 95126). Menu items and wonderful beers on tap will be available for sale.
Prizes: There will be collectible pins, gift cards and other local bike shop items for podium + each sequential finisher will be able to select one item from the prize table until we run out.
Tuesday Night Ride is going to get moved to Thursday since the rain is going to be coming down tomorrow. As much as rain rides are fun, it’s cold. I’d rather lead a rain ride when its not freezing. Until then, get a fender and get used to a commute before we start scheduling parking garage rides like we used to.
Thursday will be a short SJC Airport Loop and then will connect to our social night at Camino Brewing. Their patio is actually the historic backyard of Faber’s Cyclery. They have different food vendors throughout the week and Thursday they will have some bomb Quesa Birria. Come get down with the get down!
This Sunday weekend work is back. We’re connecting with Phixed Kings Expedition to ride San Jose to Oakland. The plan is to meet at the Berryessa BART station at 9:45 and ride at 10:30 AM. After being in Oakland for a little while we will take the BART back and the ticket is about $8.50 for the ride home. Come out and join us!
Tuesday Night Ride this week we headed to “Comm Hill Jr.” Camden Hill. It’s hard to find hills to bomb but we know where to find them. We’ll mash down Meridian to make it to Park Station Hashery before they close for the night.
Thursday Night Social we will be doing the “social so nice, we’re doing it thrice” They seem to like us over at JTown Pizza so we’ll be heading back over to enjoy the pie, drinks and good times.
This Saturday we got a little weekend work ride called Hill-a-Ween and features the eastside hills of San Jose. We plan to finish around noon. Check the route and flier below.
The canopy was blue and clear and the few gentle clouds that came to see the pre-race soon left the scene. It was forecasted to be a 73° clear day in the 408. The Plaza at Cesar Chavez Park gives a clear view to watch as riders arrive from all compass directions. We showed up to pop up registration at 10:15 and riders were already on site ready to give morning greetings … and to size up the field. A few early riders were getting some laps either to warm up or get out the pre-race jitters. I decided not to ask so I’ll never know.
It had been about 4 years since there was an alleycat in San Jose. Riders still talk about the early days, or the iMINUSD era or even the last time we dropped a shirt 6 years ago. No one knew how this day was going to play out, who was going to show up and besides a couple of clues no one knew what to expect from the manifest. Nonetheless, 41 riders, about 15 volunteers, plenty of friends and family, and a few sponsors showed up to find out!
After a brief volunteer meeting, registration began. Arriving to the table were plenty of veteran alleycat riders, bike messengers and a slew of first-timers. We even sent a minor home to bring his father to sign the liability release. I didn’t know if he would come back, but he returned with parent and his dad supported him through the entire race, even up Comm Hill.
Riders circled up to hear details about the manifest and told to pay attention to hear any of the curveballs that might be thrown by the race at high noon. I would tell them the checkpoints would be like a donut where the inner hole would close at 1:00 p.m. while the rest of the donut would remain open until 2:45 p.m. Riders routed on the smartphones, while others planned to follow the pack until they couldn’t anymore.
Riders were informed this race would begin with a rolling start, a couple of neutral laps around the park that would soon turn into an all out scramble for the nearest checkpoints. The laps had a wonderful calm to them. I think riders, especially the locals, were satisfied to enjoy this moment of solidarity with the track bike scene in San Jose, something familiar in these strange times.
I’ll let the riders and their Strava tell the race stories. At the finish line at about 1:45 elapsed time, 3 racers would arrive, 2 in tandem and 1 from a different direction. Javier, Eli and Patrick. Out of breath and ecstatic that race was over, their faces would turn to confusion and disgust when I announced a ninth checkpoint for the top 3. They were told to bring a skeleton from the nearby Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum that they could find laying at the center of the labyrinth. They rode off and after about 5 minutes Javier would return to claim the top spot. He would make it even before anyone else finished the race. Patrick shortly behind and Eli following him. The podium was set.
The rest of the racers would trickle in including Ray “PapiFixed”, a youngbuck from SJ and Rossi, president of SFBMA. Brandon, Joel, Isaac, Martin and Nam. More drinks, food, and race tales were shared as riders would arrive over the next hour or so.
The podium payout was $200 for 1st, $120 for 2nd and $80 for 3rd including being able to pick an item from the prize table. Prizes were distributed based on placing. There were so many prizes, even volunteers and DNF riders were able to take something home.