Photo by Greg Hebard
Alley scat, pussy cat, alley kitten … no, these aren’t possible names for the next MTV produced “reality” band. In fact, they’re quite the opposite: former SLC bicycle race titles. Generally known as alley cats, these aren’t your every day Race for the Cure-type bike events. Krisha Pessa, co-organizer of the Pastry Cat on April 25, said, “An alley cat means no spandex, no rules: chaos.” Patrick Beecroft, bike messenger for LMI Inc. and another Pastry Cat organizer, described an alley cat as a simulation of a bike messenger’s day at work.
Bike messengers deliver packages, mail, food and even sex toys around town at high speeds through dangerous traffic. Doesn’t sound fun yet? Add a theme, competition, alcohol and prizes —you’ve got yourself an alley cat.
The Pastry Cat was one of many races in the works this year. The theme was centered around baking, competitors were given a “recipe” with addresses and a plastic bag to hold their collected ingredients. The racers were given only a few minutes to choose their routes before the race began. Starting at the Gallivan Center, the cyclists broke away to the first checkpoint, bending traffic laws in true messenger spirit.
Many racers chose to brave the steep incline to Lindsey Gardens on ninth avenue first, where they had to take a shot (alcoholic or non) before speeding to the next stop. From there, the “recipe” took them to stops as far as ninth south, picking up flour, sugar and chocolate chips— sometimes for free, sometimes in exchange for singing “Muffin Man” depending on the checkpoint.
The race finished at Johnny’s on Second, where beers and a toaster oven to bake their cookies awaited the cyclists. Salt Lake City’s reigning alley cat champion, Davey Davis, won first place in the men’s division. He says all of his wins have been “mostly luck.” Meara McClenahan placed first in the women’s division, saying “I need whiskey,” as she retreated into Johnny’s. Prizes were given to first through third place in both the women’s and men’s divisions and included gift certificates from Iris Piercing, Blue Boutique, Johnny’s, Pib’s Exchange, and more.
“I like alley cats because they’re silly. They’re more about doing ridiculous stuff with friends and playing in traffic than about winning,” said Davis.
The prize for DFL or Dead Fucking Last was given to yours truly. I ended up walking my flat to Johnny’s in shame, but I did win a used Easy Bake Oven. Cookies, anyone?
For information on future alley cat dates in Salt Lake visit saltcycle.com.