Category Archives: feelmylegs

Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer #7 Date and Time

[Update: Feel My Legs I'm a Racer Propaganda]

It’s that time of year! Can you believe this race has been happening for 6 years ->; 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011. And the Feel My Legs category has everything in between, including the flier from the very first race!

The 2012 race will be on Sunday March 25th. We’ll meet at the same location, which is now the Silver Lake Sunset Triangle Plaza, at 745am, pre-race talk will begin at 815am and we’ll roll out to the first hill at 830am sharp. All updates between now and then will be posted here and on the facebook event page. For day-of info please follow the Swarm! twitter account. Flier coming shortly!

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Finishers of the first ever Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer way bike in 2006.

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What exactly is this?

This is a stage ‘race’ on 10 of the hardest hills in Los Angeles that started in 2006. We ride as a group between hills and then each hill is its own race with points awarded for 1st through 5th. We regroup and ride together to the next hill. The rider with the most points after 10 hills wins. It’s based on Danny Chew’s Dirty Dozen. Most riders are out there just to ride all 10 hills in one day, which is no small feat.

Do I have to race?

Definitely not. Most people on this ride are not racing, but are there just to attempt every hill.

Is there an entry fee?

No!

Are there prizes?

No!

Can I ride fixed gear?

You can try! We ride together from hill to hill and any gear that you could get up these hills with will be too low to stay with the group. You are welcome to come out and prove me wrong though.

Will I get lost?

No! Well, probably not. We ride as a group from hill to hill at a chill pace. At each hill it will be obvious where to go. At any turns or confusing parts I’ll have chalk and/or a volunteer. We regroup at the top only after the last person has made it up.

How can I prepare?

Familiarize yourself with the route and with the history of the ride. A good start is the write-up from 2010. A good gauge hill is Micheltorena off of Sunset Blvd. . It’s long with steep sections and if you can make it up that comfortably I think you can hang on this ride. Another test is Fargo St, which is a monster of a hill. It has been hill number 9 for the past few years, but that is subject to change this year.

Do I get a meal or picnic or something out of this?

I wish. In the past we’ve done everything from pancake breakfasts to picnics and from t-shirts to patches. This year there will definitely be a spoke card by Creative Thing, but no promises beyond that.

Who puts this on?

My bike club, known as Swarm!. We ride everything from alley cats to international UCI races. Collectively we think that the world would be a better place if people rode bikes and ate vegan food more often.

My friends want to watch, can they drive along the course and stop at the hills?

Nope, sorry. We’re going to be on some narrow roads in quiet neighborhoods; I don’t want to add to the car traffic. They are welcome to ride bikes along with us and I’ll help navigate the best places to see and how to get around. By the end almost half the people with us are just there to watch and cheer on the other riders!

How long is this ride?

Plan to be done around 2pm, hopefully sooner.

Why did you stop making fun of Bryan Farhy?

After 5 years of naming vegan events after him over an anti-vegan email, he recently sent me an apology and I’m letting it go. Don’t tell any of my east coast friends that I didn’t take a grudge to the grave.

Anything I can do to help?

Thanks for asking! I need help getting the word out. Please send this page to your bike club/crew/gang. I also may need some volunteers the day of. Getting up and down the hill may or may not be required. Photography is always appreciated, but again, by bike and not cars. Get in touch at bikeswarm [at] gmail.

Get me stoked?

Here’s a short video of Canton Street, one of the steepest hills in the world, from this past year’s Dirty Dozen race.

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2011 Feel My Legs I’m a Racer report

The leaders making their way up hill number two, Eldred St.

Photos from Omar’s Flickr page

This year’s Feel My Legs, I’m A Racer will be memorable for two reasons: I put the least amount of work into it I ever have because I was swamped with other stuff and the most people ever showed up!

The morning started off at Golden Saddle Cyclery where part-owner and previous year’s winner Ty invited us over for some pre-race coffee. Hell yeah! Ty passed up defending his title in order to be the first person to race on a single-speed, which he did. Dope.

At 745am I rolled over to the park to a huge pack of cyclists. I love it. It makes me so happy to bring all these cyclists together. Even though apparently I may slightly offended everyone there when in my pre-race talk I said, ‘Wow, so many people here this year. I guess the roadies are less scared to come into the city and the city kids are less scared to race.’  No harm meant! Ha. Back when this race and Swarm! were being conceptualized the idea for both, honestly, was to get more city kids to race and more racers to ride bikes outside of proper racing. This was before Wolfpack Hustle, TRFKAS, BicyKillers, or Cyclones! I guess it’s happening, eh? 82 people rolling out of Silver Lake to ride 10 super hard hills is proof of that.

E-Rock Colton, one of the few veterans of the race out in 2011

Riding to the first hill a roadie who knows famous vegan track racer Jack Lindquist (2006, 2007 2008, 2009 winner) asked, ‘How many people here have raced this before? I can’t seem to find anyone.’ At the first hill while we waited for the scorers to get to the top I asked everyone who had raced previously to race their hand. Only 8 people! 90% first-timers! What does that say?

Shortly thereafter they were racing up Mt Washington, which is one of the most beautiful climbs on the route, if not in all of Los Angeles. It’s also misleading because it is the easiest. Every year a few fixed gear riders make it up….and then they see hill number two- Eldred St- and I never see them again! That’s not totally true, because a guy who I had just met at TRAFKAS, showed up on fixed and rode the first few hills competitively until he broke his cleat. A huge effort to do that. Mt Washington, as awesome as it is, seems to bring the drama! It was the site of the finish being in the wrong place in 2009 and this year someone crashed into Lacy, who was riding my brand-new Moth Attack bike, on the descent. Luckily she is alright, but the rear wheel was taco’d. She was able to ride the rest of the day, but the rim needs to be replaced. The worst part? The kid took off after that. Owell. At least she’s okay.

Jeff playing on the Moth Attack Adventure Bike before some dude collided into Lacy on the descent from the first hill

Eldred Street did it’s usual damage, with it’s 30+ percent grade and loose pavement.  Though the harder it is the more people cheer! There’s nothing like watching someone collapse at the top, get up and turn to cheer on the people behind them struggling to get up there. So good!

Thomas Street was it’s usual trickiness with that gate at the top and all the broken glass. Sorry! And by now it was clear that a young buck from Santa Barbara was owning it. He was unstoppable. There was some super fast people there this year (real roadies who do real races!) and he was proving to be the fastest of the fast. The top Swarm! rider, Jeff Lawler, was fighting to make top five and get points.

Group shot at the top of Thomas Street. It's a great view of DTLA

The halfway point, Echo Park Ave and Chango Coffee, comes so late in the day and it was getting hot. People were getting nervous cause they wanted to make Ciclavia.  We ended up with 42 finishing, better than half, which is a record, but I figure more would have finished if they didn’t skip out to ride CicLAvia with their families.

Micheltorena Street, with it’s wide berth is a crowd favorite. It’s also an ‘up and over hill’ which means spectators, if they want to keep going with us, have to go up the hill. It’s in the middle of Silver Lake, but on a clear day you can see the ocean….

It’s around this point in the day that the roads are getting busier, drivers less friendly and I’m getting hot and dehydrated. And I’m not even racing! At Fargo Street, considered by many to be the steepest paved hill west of the Mississippi, I thought I’d give it a go on foot. I went on the gun and even though I nearly popped about 20 feet from the top, was able to beat all the cyclists up! I also did not have 8 hills in my legs. And I did it barefoot, which I didn’t think anything of until I got a blister! Two minutes of running gave me a blister on each foot. Crazy.

I can't remember her name, but this woman gave it an unbelievable effort and rode a bunch of the hills on fixed...

Finally we rolled down to Riverside Ave, which we had taken to the first hill, to now hit the last: Stadium Way.  It’s after 130pm by now, I thought we’d be done by 12 or 1, and everyone just wants to get done. The kid from Santa Barbara had the win in the bag and everyone else is stoked to have Fargo behind them and an ‘easy’ hill the only thing between them and the coveted Feel My Legs I’m A Racer spoke card (courtesy of Creative Thing, for the second year in a row. Thank you!).

Wearing our new Swarm! jerseys, I speak with Mark and Jesse, the scorers for the day

Afterward we met under a tree in Elysian Park, I handed out the spoke cards and we talked plans to get to CicLAvia. I got SO much positive feedback this year. It leaves me smiling for days how people appreciate the work that goes into this. Not to mention the strangeness of being thanked for putting them through serious suffering. But putting this on is not a solo endeavor, it has been years of route finding with the help of numerous folks, not to mention day-of help from a number of Swarm! riders. Jesse and Mark for being such detailed scorers is crucial. Megan, Sasha, Stacy, Molly and other folks who did sweep and marked turns. The photographers, of course and Creative Thing for making the spoke card. You rule! Thank you so much.

Results

1. Andrew Benson – 44 points
2. Jordan Haggard – 24 points
3. Eric Colton – 16 points
4. Adam Masters – 15 points
5. Jeff Lawler – 10 points
6. Nicholas Humphrey – 8 points
7. Fabian Vazquez – 6 points
8. Ty Hathaway – 5 points
9. Eugene Kim – 4 points
9. Jon Budinoff – 4 points
11. Allen Louie – 3 points

Kyle from ‘Tracko’ was awesome enough to mention the ride, which was then picked up by Prolly, which is probably (!) the first time we’ve gotten a mention outside of Los Angeles. More great  photos at Frank M Burton’s Flickr and Tong Sheng’s Picassa. And baby-maker and graphic designer extraordinaire Chris Cheung found the complete S&M Bikes video for which this ride is named after, on the internet, if you’ve got a bunch of time to spend seeing what BMX was like in 1989…

Thanks again to everyone who came out!

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2011 Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer update

The 2011 Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer meets at Sunset Blvd/Griffth Park Blvd at 745am on Sunday April 10th.

 

Infamous Eldred Street. Hill number 2. (photos from Shawn Bannon)

Since setting the date for the 2011 Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer, I’ve gotten a few questions from people unfamiliar with the event that I want to address.

While there are a few riders ‘racing’ for points, the majority of the people who come out are challenging themselves to the 10 hardest hills I could find in Los Angeles.  We usually get about 50 folks starting, but only 5, maybe 10, actually get any points on the hills.

Obviously being able to climb steep and/or long hills is a requirement to finish this event, but so is a desire to explore neighborhoods and places most people will who live in this great city will never see.  It’s less of a race and more of a group of friends (or soon to be friends!) out for a day of hard riding and exploring.

Is there an entry fee?

No!

Can I ride fixed gear?

I doubt it. We ride together from hill to hill and any gear that you could get up these hills with will be too low to stay with the group. You are welcome to come out and prove me wrong though.

Will I get lost?

No! Well, probably not. We ride as a group from hill to hill at a chill pace. At each hill it will be obvious where to go. At any turns or confusing parts I’ll have chalk and/or a volunteer. We regroup at the top only after the last person has made it up.

How can I prepare?

Familiarize yourself with the route and with the history of the ride. A good start is the write-up from 2010. A good gauge hill is Micheltorena off of Sunset Blvd. Originally it was the finishing hill, but I made some changes a few years ago and now it is number seven. It’s long with steep sections. If you can make it up that comfortably I think you can hang on this ride. Another test is Fargo St, which is a monster of a hill…

Do I get a meal or picnic or something out of this?

I wish. In the past we’ve done everything from pancake breakfasts to full-on picnics. This year we’re going to head over to CicLAvia and probably eat, hang out on the route. There will be a spoke card!

Who puts this on?

My bike club, known as Swarm!. We ride everything from alley cats to international UCI track events. We think the world would be a better place if people rode bikes and ate vegan more often.

My friend wants to watch, can he drive along the course and stop at the hills?

No. Definitely not. We’re going to be on some narrow roads in quiet neighborhoods; I don’t want to add to the car traffic. He can ride a bike along with us and I’ll help navigate the best places to see and how to get around. By the end almost half the people with us are just there to watch and cheer on the riders!

How long is this ride?

I hope to be done between 12 and 1pm.

Why did you stop making fun of Bryan Farhy?

After 5 years of naming vegan events after him over an anti-vegan email, he recently sent me an apology and I’m letting it go. Don’t tell any of my east coast friends that I let  go of a grudge.

Anything I can do to help?

Thanks for asking! I need help getting the word out. Please send this info and links to the pages to your bike club/crew/gang. I also may need some volunteers the day of. Getting up and down the hill may or may not be required. Photography is always appreciated, but again, by bike and not cars.  Get in touch at bikeswarm [at] gmail.

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2011 Feel My Legs, I’m A Racer, April 10th 745am

It’s official! This race will be held on Sunday April 10th. It’s the same day as CicLAvia, which we’ll enjoy when we’re done.

Meet at Sunset Blvd and Griffith Park Blvd, where the Farmers Market is on Saturdays at 745am.

If you are unfamiliar, this is a stage ‘race’ on 10 of the hardest hills in Los Angeles. We ride as a group between hills and then each hill is its own race with points awarded for 1st through 5th. We re-group and ride together to the next hill. It’s based on Danny Chew’s Dirty Dozen. Most riders are out there just to accomplish all 10 hills in one day, which is no small feat. The write-up from 2010 has lots of info and links as does the Feel My Legs tab on my site. Please familiarize yourself with the event’s history to get an idea of how fun and challenging it is. I’ll be posting more info in the upcoming weeks!

Previous year’s route, which will likely stay the same:

 

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2010: Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer #5

All race-day photos from Shawn Bannon’s amazing Flickr set which I recommend you watch in slide show. While you are at it, check out his great food blog Little Vegan Planet and his fiance’s beautiful Cute and Delicious vegan blog.

Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer is a 10-stage hill race I have been organizing in Los Angeles for the previous 5 years (see 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 or my Feel My Legs tag) based on Danny Chew’s Dirty Dozen race in Pittsburgh. It’s simple. Find the hardest/steepest hills in the area and each one is a stage. We meet up, ride as a group to hill one, race up it where the first five people get points. Then we group ride to hill number two, where we do it again! You can see the most recent map of the ten hills here (which somehow has 39,000 views?).

There is no entry fee. No prizes for first. Most years there is an award for everyone who finishes and in 2010 it was this patch:

 

 

 

[Update Saturday Jan 15th, 7:15am, In 2010 all entrants received this spoke card by multi-race finisher and Midnight Ridazz regular, Creative Thing.  The photo is of Jack Lindquist's piston tattoos. Thanks Creative Thing!!]

 

 

Back in 2007 the race was held close to Valentine’s Day and I wanted a design related to love- love for bicycling. My great friend Chris, who is the design force behind much of the Swarm! stuff, and I worked out this one:

Which, minus the cog, I got tattooed on my leg later that year (by my good friend Thomas Hooper).  Since then two close friends have had it tattooed on them, one of which is Jack, who won this race the first 4 years I held it. It’s also where the name of this website comes from! Lacy, in a discussion about what name to use, suggested something that is already important to me. Why not one of my tattoos? And since Out Of Step is obviously not my original concept, I went with True Love.

Eldred Street. So much steeper than it looks.

Enough with the back story! For the first in time in all five years of this race, Jack was not there and therefore obviously could not win. Instead he sent his housemate, a former BMXer and MX racer whose focus now is single-speed cyclocross. Ty (below, on notorious Fargo St) took some early hills, faded briefly, but then with a strong showing on the last few gobbled up enough points to take the win. Could not have gone to a nicer person!

As always we start with more folks than we finish with and a few newer riders are left in awe of the difficulty of this race. The feedback on the MR forum was fantastic. The last climb is in Elysian Park and we ended with a big vegan picnic/bbq. Thanks to everyone who comes out and races and supports! I wouldn’t bother putting this on (I lose money!) if it wasn’t for the stokedness of those who ride it. More photos from Bootykika if you’re interested and the date for 2011 is yet to be announced….I’m working on it!

I’m trying to force out a smile here, on the top of Baxter St.

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Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer 2010



Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill race (5th year anniversary!) Sunday March 28th, 8am
Meet at Sunset Blvd / Griffith Park Ave (where Silver Lake Farmers Market is)

background and FAQ from 2009

More soon, but wanted to get the hills up so people know! This so exciting. The Finishers patch is so dope. Come get it! The race will be followed by the Crucial Vegan Friendship picnic (Brian Farhy Commemorative edition) where your friends can meet you and you can grub hard. The picnic starts at 1pm and hopefully we’ll be done by then.

1. Mt Washington drive / Self-realization (Mt. Washington)
2. Eldred st (Highland Park)
3. Amethyst st (El Sereno)
4. Thomas st (Lincoln Heights)
5. White Knoll/Marview (Echo Park)
6. Echo Park ave/Baxter (Echo Park)
7. Micheletorena (Silver Lake)
8. Silver Lake blvd/Duane (Silver Lake)
9. Fargo st (Echo Park)
10. Stadium way/Academy/Boylston (Elysian Park)

http://www.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=109824254261595547968.0004612f22c589d6eab43&ll=34.088777,-118.23143&spn=0.068239,0.109863&z=13&output=embed
View Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer 2010 in a larger map

[Update]

Patch for all finishers!

Spoke card by Creative Thing

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Swarm! events for 2010

Bikeswarm.org is down (as is the Bikerowave site) because the server was hacked, but I didn’t want to wait to get these dates out. I’ll have more specifics for each event up soon. Photos and details of previous years via links.

Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill race (5th year anniversary!) Sunday March 28th, 8am
Meet at Silver Lake Farmers Market at Sunset Blvd / Griffith Park Ave
Background (from 2009)
Previous year write-ups:
2009
2008
2007
2006

Thus Climbed Zarathustra, CycloCat AlleyCross race, Sunday March 21, 1pm (exact time may change)
Silver Lake Dog Park
History:
2008
2006

Crucial Vegan Friendship Picnic 2, Sunday March 28th, 1pm
Elysian Park. Exact location tbd.
Info from 2009

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