Solstice Houston 2005!

Posted on December 18th, by Squid in Blog. Comments Off

It was Hugo who told me about the 8th Annual Winter Solstice race in Houston Texas on December 17, 2005.

I talked with the team and we were as one on the subject, Lets Go! Seven of us flew from JFK on Friday evening, compliments of Puma NA. Felipe, Carlos, Alfred, Amy, Todd, Hugo and Yours Truly. A fearsome crew to be sure! Other New Yorkers made the trek as well. Yeti, Freddie, Alex, Eric, and a few whos names elude me.

This was my first time staying in Houston and I was pumped to see Da Kid (main organizer), whom I know from many World Championships.
We rendezvous at a bar called Farmers. The Gold Sprints were already rolling when we rolled up.

Kid was the MC and also built the Gold Sprint machine. Props! It was a sturdy construct with a video monitor so the crowd could watch the action (mph and distance/time) as riders battled head to head.
I was catching up with Texas peeps and sampling the local brews. They had $2 Lone Star and Shiner Bock in the bottle. Also $1.50 Lone Star cans (for budget conscious drinkers).

The Gold Sprints ran smooth as sin. The pink bike was winning a lot early in the evening, the yellow bike started winning later on.
In the end it was my crew all the way! Felipe took Gold with Alfred in Second and Carlos rounding out the top three. Thats my crew, What!

We met for breakfast on Saturday with a bunch of messengers at an excellent Mexican restaurant about ten minutes from the downtown core. Houston has a bunch of tall buildings and the architecture has its own flavor. The streets are wide, they do things BIG in Texas.

We went to the start around 2pm. It was a house in the sixth ward. Their was little or no car traffic with a large flatbed across the street and a super cool door to a building that later hosted a Secret Santa party (?).
Someone busted out a big tub of chalk and people made a nice canvas on the blacktop street.

The course was a ten square block zone with ten checkpoints. Our mission was to complete as many deliveries as possible. Picking up envelopes and delivering, getting signatures at every stop. When you complete your manifest you bring it back to the start/finish and pick up a new one. It was timed at 90 minutes, when the race ended all the deliveries were tallied by Kid.

It was an awesome ride and the format was very friendly for out of towners. I was riding with Alfred and Yeti for the first checkpoint, however I lost them in my psycho zone soon after. With the map provided and the familiar street grid style I had figured out the course by the time I finished my first manifest.

One checkpoint involved a flight of stairs and crossing a parkway, another at the top of a tri-level parking garage. There was even a wrong address! It was written as 408 xxx st. but the number turned out to be 908! That messed me up twice, had to laugh the second time.

The winner and two time winter Solstice Champion is James Benitez!

Alfred took Second place overall and first out of town! Hugo, Carlos and myself all placed top ten.
Props to Yeti for a strong Third place finish.

The foot down was intense. A lot of pretzels and spectacular crashes. Alain from Dallas took the Track Stand competition.
World Champion Squirrel held it down for Houston in the skid competition, with Alex in second.

The Award Ceremony was on the flat bed with lots of cool prizes and beautiful trophies. Everyone proceeded to get hammered.
Six of us flew back Sunday morning. Hugo stayed on, last I heard from him he was heading for Dallas by bicycle (of course!).

Thanks to Da Kid and all the Texas posse who made us feel welcome and showed us all the good stuff!!

Ride Safe and Until We Meet Again, Happy Trails..

Todd’s Pictures

Humidity: Bicycle Courier Zine

Carlos Videos

Posted on August 7th, by Squid in Blog. Comments Off

Check out Carlos Videos!! He has more than 30 originals on Youtube.


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