By Lacy Kemp

This past weekend I turned 40. About 8 months ago my pal who I share my birthday with reserved the entire space at Retallack Lodge for our party. We were planning to go BIG. We wanted big days on big bikes in big terrain, followed by big nights of partying. Unfortunately, like so many people, Covid had other plans for what we were allowed to do. Being that the majority of us live in Washington State, and Canada currently thinks Americans are icky, we opted to postpone for another year. My backup plan was to do a big alpine ride in central Washington, but Ma Nature decided to dump a boatload of snow on the route, so that got shelved. So, what’s a girl to do? ALLEY CAT RACE! My dear friends Clayton and Gretchen decided to host the Covid-friendly race from their lawn and on Sunday we had close to 40 people show up to get rowdy on two wheels.

If you’re not familiar with what an Alley Cat race is, the simplest explanation is that it’s akin to a scavenger hunt on bikes. There’s a list of checkpoints, and often times they’re riddles. Each checkpoint has a task associated with it, and we decided to add an extra layer by assigning points to each stop. That way the stops that were a bit farther away could have a higher point value. There is no set route which means route strategy is key. We gave everyone around 3.5 hours to check off as many of the 17 locations as possible. Anyone that arrived back after the deadline was disqualified.

The checkpoints encompassed a large portion of our local moutain bike trails on Galbraith as well as a bunch of urban riding, so bike choice was also key. Would you choose to ride a gravel bike and skip some of the more technical singetrack? Or would you choose your enduro sled and slog a bit slower through the streets? Also, no ebikes were allowed in this one. All human-powered (and beer powered), all day! We also added in bonus points for the team that turned in the best photo or video of the day and the team that had the best face painting of the day,

My team consisted of Kona ambassador and muralist Gretchen Leggitt, gazillion time Crankworx Queen Jill Kintner, my good buddy Arielle Furtado, and Kona buddy Mark “Donny” Allison. The teams were a mix of local bike industry people, local rippers, coaches, and riders just wanting to do something different. 
We had to take a shot of either tequlia or hot sauce at the local cabin ruins on the mountain bike trails.

We were told to “smash” a donut at the local donut shop. Some people took it quite literally. This also won video of the day.

We had to pet the horse in the sculputre park and kiss the girl behind the downtown market.

Rally the local pumptrack? We’ll let Jill handle that one. Drink a beer on Spirit Bear? Check!

Sing your favorite Bob Dylan song on Bob’s trail. Ty Deschaine took it a step further and even wrote his own Dylan-esque song.

Alabama Slammacupcake to your face, show us your best look on Blue Steel, and eat your fortune on the Orient Express trail.
We found the sasquatch at the Kona Bike Shop. This mural was painted by Gretchn (on the left) and has become a big attraction to the city.

Team Purple Kush inhaled their cupcakes and proved to be best face paint contestants.

They also pulled off the coveted double bar hump maneuver at one of the local pumptracks.

Clayton found the cock in the Sunnyland neighborhood, while Team Frida won for best face painting.

Next time you’re looking for a great way to kill some time on a weekend, consider trying an Alley Cat! We ended up riding ar0und 23 miles, and got to ride some the more fun trails around town. Costumes also make things a bit more fun too!