The King Nine Will Not Return Recap
Race day! One of the best kind of days besides a wedding day or a birthday, is 'race day'. When I am not writing for ESD, I run RAAD (Riding for Autism Awareness and Development). If you aren't familiar with RAAD, here is a brief description of what they do. RAAD is a small organization that raises money for autism nonprofits by throwing various types of bike races. These races include: alleycats, there and back, gold sprints, and century group rides. All the entry fees are donated to an Arizona nonprofit that helps the community affected by autism.
On July 21st at 7:30 pm, 17 racers faced off to land a spot on the podium of 'The King Nine Will Not Return'. All bikes were welcome but the overall turn out had three road bikes and 14 fixed gear bikes. The race began at Civic Space Park and participants had to race to the SOMO visitor center to grab a spoke card and then ride to the end of San Juan Road for photo proof and finish at Crescent Ballroom. The overall ride was 23 miles and over 1,200 feet of climbing. To add to the intensity of this alleycat, Phoenix blessed us with one hell of a monsoon 15 minutes before I sent the riders off.
Unfortunately I was unable to follow the riders on their journey but the volunteers were able to document the experience. Below are photos taken of riders as they passed the visitor center and the required photo proof of getting to the end. The photos don't do the amount of suffering these riders endured justice.
After an hour and a half we finally saw our first rider making their way down to the finish. A local fixed gear rider, Daniel Keeny was walking back, bike slung over his shoulder. He explained that he was in third place on the way up to San Juan and ended up blowing through two tubes and crashed his bike. He ended up taking a bus to the finish. We later found out that during the entire race we had two riders get flats and two crashes. One guy even crashed, got up to fix his bike and blasted off towards the finish. 20 minutes after Daniel arrived we had our finishers. Paolo Ranola arrived first, followed behind Jesse Hill and Cody Goodman right behind him. To be honest, I wasn't sure who would be first or even make it to Crescent Ballroom. I've ridden up San Juan on days that I want to do some climbing. On those days I take my time riding up, enjoy the sights and take a breather at the end. 'Race Day' to cyclists can give them that extra boost to mash up and down where they need to get to. I am thoroughly impressed with everyone who came out and rose. Congrats to the podium and congrats to those who finished such a wicked ride!