When the Midwest delivers 50+ degree weather in December, you shirk all other adult responsibilities and go outside. It’s basically the law. A few weekends ago, some law-abiding TBD members and friends did just that and took advantage of the warmer temps to attend Street Cred, Kansas City’s longest running anti-sanctioned race series.
Street Cred is not dead and its reputation certainly precedes it.
I’d heard of the event through various bike and non-bike friends for years, but had never actually gone either because of the weather (I hate the cold) or because I was far too shy to show up solo to an event where I might not know anyone. Terrifying. Fortunately, this year, Karin, Nancy, Windish and a few of the regular Tuesday Night Ladies Ride riders agreed to check it out.
On Saturday morning, we gathered for some pre-race hydration and nutrition, mostly consisting of bacon, coffee and mimosas. Very serious racers, we are. We were a little late leaving the house, but the ride down to the Bottoms is an easy and forgiving downhill cruise. We arrived with time to spare before we realized we didn’t know the exact meet up location. Fortunately, Karin was the adult among us and looked it up on Facebook and we found everyone else at the Edge of Hell before the first race of the three race series started.
(Please note that I am using the term “race” very loosely. As the Facebook event flier made plenty clear, there were no prizes or sponsors; this was mostly for callous amusement and debaucherous fun.)
The first race was the criterium, so loopy laps around the bottoms until time expired. I think the race was 45 minutes, but I could be wrong. Originally, I was super apprehensive about participating because 1. I am not fast and 2. I was worried about crashing (lolol) and I knew from pictures of past years’ events that there might be some, uh, obstacles
BUT the crit was really fun! I rolled over things I ordinarily would have avoided! There was great camaraderie among everyone there! I was feeling nothing but glee and elation!
Up until the point when I flatted. I pinch flatted my rear tube rolling over…something. I don’t remember what it was, but I do remember the distinct hiss my tube made as it released all of the air. I very sadly walked my bike back to the start/finish area, where spectators and friends were gathered. I’ve been practicing changing tubes/tires at home whenever the opportunity presents itself because it feels like one of those things that just takes practice to do well and quickly. Unfortunately, all of that practice is for naught when you have an audience. Thanks to some helping hands (Nate’s) and a spare CO2 cartridge (also Nate’s), I was ready to go in short order.
Street Cred’s next stop was The Lunchbox, which has delicious food and inexpensive beverages.
Time trial up to the Columbus Park skate park followed. One of the roads out of the Bottoms appeared to closed so we took a…creative…route along the railroad tracks and then behind some condos in the River Market. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t pinch flat again given the terrain. After we arrived at the DIY skate park, the area around the ramps and things quickly became a cyclocross course thanks to the race organizer and a couple willing participants. I did not participate in this part, but Andy Brewer and Treadwell did. Treadwell can tell you about it if you ask him. Also, Andy Brewer won!
After the cyclocross race wrapped up, the Street Cred crowd started to disperse. Julie caught a ride with someone back to midtown so she could attend her work Christmas Party. Treadwell, Karin, Matt and Nate headed to the Velo Garage Chili Comp by way of the levee trails and the bar at Harrah’s. Most everyone else headed to Caddyshack for pitchers and pizza. Del and Jeff met me there after their day riding trail at Landahl. There was much merriment.
Despite multiple offers of a drive home ensconced in a warm car, I decided to ride home with Natasha and only one front light between us (hers). We rode back to midtown through the bottoms, along the levee trail and to Southwest Boulevard. Everything was great and I’d had a fun and memorable day of doing things I’d previously been afraid of doing and, other than the flat, had an awesome day on my bike! We crossed SW Boulevard and detoured through the parking lot of the notorious Royal Liquor store on the corner of the Boulevard and Summit. I don’t have any memory of what happened next or even what happened a little after, but here’s what I’ve pieced together from what other people have told me and the bruising on my face:
I crashed my bike and landed face first on the pavement. I lost consciousness because that’s what happens when your head absorbs nearly 100% of the impact of falling (my helmet presumably absorbed the rest). Some kind strangers stopped to help, and Natasha, who was ahead of me, turned around to figure out wtf happened. She also called 911 and prevented me from standing or moving around. She and the kind strangers set my bike aside and responded patiently every time I asked if my bike was okay, which I did ad nauseam for the next couple hours. Jeff, who was doing some car and bike shuffling in the Bottoms, happened to drive down Summit as I was being wheeled up Summit in a gurney. He turned around to figure out had happened and made sure I was mostly okay before sending me in the ambulance to St. Luke’s.
An ordeal for sure, but if there’s one thing that makes an ER visit better it’s not knowing how long I was there because my short term memory wasn’t really firing. After a couple CT scans and a visit with a provider that I have no recollection of, Jeff arrived to take me home. Other than a concussion and some really badass-looking face bruises, I was fine. And, other than some really minor cosmetic scratches, my bike is also fine.