Posted by: hlm227 | April 21, 2011

Monstertrack XII

On March 12, I raced my 6th Monstertrack. I’d been hearing that it was going to be a long race, but all in Manhattan, meaning no bridges, but the possibility of uptown hills. It had been a long and frequently brutal winter, and I wasn’t feeling particularly fast on the bike.

About a week before the race, I got back on my Squarebuilt and felt great. That bike is incredible.

On Friday night, I went to Affinity Cycles and Second Chance Saloon, where pre-registration and goldsprints were being held.

I got this list of checkpoints

We were told that checkpoints could appear on multiple manifests, and so had no way of knowing how long the race was going to be – we could be going up to 1355 Park Ave. 3 times.

I met up with Erik the next afternoon so we could ride to some of the checkpoints and make sure we knew where they were.

I particularly wanted to check out the 79th street boat basin, because the bike path along the west side gets tricky when the highway elevates and I didn’t know what westbound streets connected to it.  It was good we checked it out because we saw that a path went down from a small traffic circle on 79th street to the bike path along the river.

We headed back to The Grime Store, where a bunch of racers had already gathered.

Aias was out, doing his first alleycat in a while.

Finally they moved us over to 62 Pike Street, which is where we would get our manifests, and start and end the race.  After some back and forth between Victor and Marc who were arguing over where to start the race, the racers followed the man with the manifests and went to Marc’s secluded starting point.

We all sat down like good little racers and were given pens and told not to ride crazy and not to hit anyone or be a jerk at checkpoints.

The manifests were handed out and Marc said we’d have a couple minutes to look it over.

The first manifest was these checkpoints:

200 North End
641 East 13th St
315 w 38th
W. 79th st (Boat Basin)
1355 Park Ave
62 Pike

I found Erik in the crowd and went to discuss routing.  We decided to go up the West side and then come down the East side, starting with 200 North End and ending with 641 E. 13th St.  We were talking when suddenly the countdown started and everyone was OFF!  Monstertrack XII had begun!

I made it to 200 North End pretty quickly and got my manifest signed by Josh and Fox of Clementine Couriers.  Then I made a really dumb mistake and got on the bike path rather than the highway.  It was one of the first warm days of the year and so the path was full of families.  I saw Doug around the meatpacking district, sprinting up the highway, and wished I had taken that road instead.  I was able to cut over to 10th ave. around 23rd St and saw Craig from Boston and Jordan, who I had met at last year’s NACCCs.  We wound up riding the rest of the race together.  City Bikes was next and then it was up to the boat basin.  I was glad that Erik and I had checked it out because rather than taking the bike path up, I knew I could get to it via 79th street.  The checkpoint workers were actually on 79th st, not on the bike path next to the river, so that definitely saved me some time.  Then we zipped over to 1355 Park Ave. and then came down to east 13th street.

It felt good to be riding with Craig and Jordan.  I usually race alone – I’m not quite as fast as some of my guy friends, and I don’t like to rely on other people for navigating.  If I make a mistake in routing, I would rather it be because of my own error than because I followed someone else.  Craig and Jordan could have definitely gone faster than me, but they were out of towners, so didn’t know where they were going.  Craig was really good at stopping traffic and we pacelined together on some of the avenues.  I wound up yelling directions at them for most of the race, ‘LEFT!’ ‘RIGHT on 42!,’ ‘GO GO GO! MAKE THAT LIGHT!’

We made it back to 62 Pike St. to hand in our first manifest and get our second.  Marc and Amanda Hagy were manning the table, checking manifests and keeping racers in line.

The checkpoints on the second manifest were
601 w 26 st
W. 79th st (Boat Basin)
12 Cherokee Pl.
919 3rd ave
1101 6th ave
62 Pike st

I got a quick visual layout of the checkpoints in my head and decided to go up to 6th ave first, then 3rd ave, continue on to Cherokee Pl., then cut across to the west side to the boat basin and back down, finishing with the 26th st checkpoint.  We ran into Lucas Brunelle and he rode with us for a while.

Here I am coming down the west side, just past the Javits center, and heading to the end of the second manifest at 601 w. 26th St.

Heading back to Pike Street for the third manifest, I was dreading seeing 1355 Park Ave. listed as one of the checkpoints.  I didn’t know if I’d have it in me to make it all the way up there and back at race speeds.

We got the third manifest and I was relieved to see that it only went as high as 200 5th Ave.

125 Broad st
28 Laight st
200 5th ave
175 Stanton
62 Pike

We went down to Broad St. first and I didn’t want to get stuck navigating the financial district to get to Laight St., so I came back up South St. and was trying to remember what street would cut across west.  Mess Kollective doesn’t have clients in the financial district, so it’s rare that I go there and I don’t know the area well.  I wound up going back past 62 Pike St. and everyone heckled me that I was going the wrong way, but I made it to Laight St, with Jordan and Craig coming in just in front of me.

I was really tired at this point and it was hard to keep pushing myself.  I kept directing Craig and Jordan, our race was almost over, and it helped to have them there to motivate me to keep going.  We went to 200 5th next and then down to Stanton.  Craig asked me for quick directions to the end so he could sprint it out, going for first out of town.  I was totally spent by this point.  I made it to the finish, to cheers of ‘FIRST GIRL!,’ handed in my manifest, sat down, tried to talk to the cameras, and desperately looked for something to drink.

I’ve never been so tired after a race.  My throat started cramping up and my lungs ached.  My legs felt fine, but I had never experienced throat cramping like that.  It was probably because of all the yelling.  It took me a few days to feel normal again.

I came in 12th place overall and was proud of how I finished.

Working at Mess Kollective definitely helped prepared me for this race.  We don’t have a dispatcher, we claim runs amongst ourselves, and figure out our own routes, so when I got those manifests, I felt really confident in being able to route myself.  I talked to Erik after the race and he said when he got the third manifest, he didn’t even look at it, he just went straight down to 125 Broad St.  He knew that checkpoint hadn’t shown up in any of the manifests yet so went straight there.  I was pretty impressed by that.

All of Mess Kollective finished in the top 3, with Erik coming in 5th, me in 12th, and Aias in 18th.

Big thank you to all the organizers, checkpoint workers, photographers, and companies that donated prizes.  It’s awesome to get to be a part of Monstertrack for so many years.

Photos by

Jose Morales
JC Ramirez
Justin Craig Roth
Courtney Gamble
Amanda Hagy
Stephanie Wowk


  1. Really awesome, congrats!

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