Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cranksgiving 2009

It's been a hectic year, and I just haven't been able to get my P's and Q's lined up for Cranksgiving in Ann Arbor this year. Thankfully, the folks of Ypsi Velo are taking up the slack that I've been paying out, and are lining it up for Dec 6. Check it out here and for the facebook-inclined, check here. Come on out and have some fun doing some good.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Whoops... forgot to mention: Amanda and Thomas had cameras. They took pictures. You can see them here and here. Thanks to both for posting them.

Monday, December 1, 2008

times and lbs.

Sorry for the delay, folks - I could complain about the frustrating treatment of tables by Blogger, but who really cares about that?

Anyway...here's the numbers.

Rex won the Grand Prize for his performance in the "fastest with the heaviest load overall"... other people came in faster, or brought in heavier loads, but the way the points came out (with the 40 lb minimum), he was the big winner.

On the Short Course, the heaviest loads 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th went to Jonathan (55lbs in a trailer), Heidi (49lbs in her panniers), Nick, and Matt.

On the Long Course, Jimmy smoked the course with a 70 minute time, but though Scrawny Petecame in 5 minutes later, he was carrying 27 lbs more and beat Jimmy in the points competition. Spencer picked up 2nd in the points competition, and Gary brought in a record 72 pound haul in a trailer to win the overall weight prize.

Again, huge thanks to everyone who came and rode, and to all the sponsors that contributed to the prize pool.

Damn... bikes are fun.

Short Course

NameTownMinutesLbsAdjusted time
Heidi T.AA894940.0
Rex R.AA714426.9
Nick T.AA754332.0
Matt CAA754233.0
Allen B.AA973859.3
Natalie H.Ypsi712842.9
Tom L.Ypsi712744.2
Pete H.AA662045.5
Lisa N.AA961878.4
Jordan B.AA971879.3
Li'l JoeAA521337.3
Pete C.AA851273.1
Ren F.AA961185.4
Larry OBelleville60950.5
Forrest K.Ypsi60950.5
BenCWhitmore Lake83875.3
Wendy C.AA85877.1
MelissaYpsi100 100.0
Andy CYpsi71
Dave MAA

Long Course

NameTownMinutesLbsAdjusted time
Scrawny PeteAA753143.5
Gary H.AA1307258.0
Jimmy RAA70465.8
Todd H.AA70465.9
Paul N.AA922566.7
Trey A.Ypsi821566.8
Georgina H.Ypsi992079.0
Luke S.Ypsi1072483.4
Rob D.ypsi1162888.0
Jackie YAA1061392.5
Anthony C.AA13620116.0
Kristina J.AA15028122.0
Andy ERedford

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A quick thank you...

There's a bunch of follow-up to be done, but for the moment, let me start off by saying a bunch of thanks yous right here and right now.

First of all, huge thanks to everyone who came out, rode, donated, and overall kicked ass. Near the end there, I announced that the total haul was 852 lbs of food. But I was wrong. I wasn't counting the non-race donations, and I was totaling individual weights, and rounding-error stack-up blahblahblah... well John from Food Gatherers shot me an email yesterday and when they weighed it all on the big scale back at the warehouse - 1005 lbs.

Holy Guacamole, folks... that's half a ton.
I was hoping to do better than last year, and secretly, I dreamed of 1000 as a target for this year, and well... there we are. Speechless, me.

OK, I take that back, not exactly speechless. I'll go on here a little because there's more thank yous to pass along. Cranksgiving Ann Arbor had a bunch of very generous sponsors this year, and I am grateful for their generous support. My goal with the prizes was to have an incentive for people to haul lots of food and do it fast. Not just riding fast, but not just carrying heavy cargo, either. It worked out better than I could've hoped. 41 people, 1000lbs of food. That averages out to ~25 lbs each. Wow.

Attracting people to benefit a good cause goes a lot easier when there are prizes to be won too. I will admit to some amount of flat-out cold-calling, and it just goes to show how classy some folks are - our sponsors came through and made the prize pool splendid indeed.

Special Huuuuge Thanks to Emily and all the folks at Surly. They chipped in this huge prize pack of really cool stuff (jerseys, hubs, hats, flasks, tools, and more...) that arrived just in time, and I was very glad to be able to spread that stuff around to the people who hauled in food. I wasn't planning on having a title sponsor, but if you count it by the prize donations, Surly was it. They make cool stuff - you should check them out. (One day, when I have space and money for it, I'm getting myself a Big Dummy. I swear... hauling big stuff without the trailer hassle? Sign me up.)

But that's not all - importantly (to me), Swobo came through early on (months ago) in the prize donations, and that support was a big part of trying to make a good event. Thanks Stevil, for the support and donation, and indirectly, motivational support. People talk about community of bike people, and everyone knows the people in their neighborhood, but when you see it come from all the way over in a different time zone, I know that people on bikes, wherever they are, are the good kind of people. (and if you haven't read Stevil's blog, you should. good times, that.)

But let's not forget all the other sponsors... Go with what you know, right? Well... I have a tendency to reach out to suppliers of my drug(s) of choice, and when it comes to around town, it's Arbor Brewing Company and Mighty Good Coffee.

Rene and Matt at ABC are just...well, pillars of the community around here. Not only do they make tasty beer, but they sponsor lots of events for good causes, are active with developing a vibrant downtown, and put their money back into the community. I, for one, and very glad they're here. Thanks to Matt and Rene and Beth for the contribution of the mug club membership. When Rex had first pick at prizes, the mug club was the first thing he wanted, and for good reason.

Dave at MGC not only chipped in coffee beans and tires to the prize pool, but brought brewed coffee to the race for everyone. OK, I lie... Wendy actually brought it. But Mighty Good Coffee is good bike people, and good coffee people, and that's goodness to go around. I got the impression that they pedal beans to your door...(?) Invested in local community, making good product, environmentally conscious? Sweet.

And still in Michigan... a big thanks to Velocity in Grand Rapids and The Hub Of Detroit for helping out with the prize pool. Velocity makes sweet rims, and wheels, and all kinds of other stuff, and has been supporting and promoting racing for as long as I can remember. The Hub (aka Back Alley Bikes) is not only a bike shop, but as half of what they do is a place for a local cycling outreach and education. Bringing more bikes to more people in the city, and sharing knowledge. Good stuff.

And not to forget Yancopads for their support - they make sweet hats and frame-protecting pads for your urban bike-padding needs, and their generous support for this and other events around these parts.

OK, so that wasn't exactly quick thank yous, but that's just because I go on and on. So I'm going to stop now. I'll get results posted after I type 'em in... soon, soon, I swear.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

more support

Emily over at Surly just let me know that they're sending a care package our way... which is so very very cool of them.

Among my personal herd of steeds, is my very own Surly. I do so enjoy it, and I'm not plugging them just because they're chipping in prizes. In a world of crazy carbon-ium, silly-low-spoke-count wheels, and all sorts of other shiny doo-dads, Surly makes solid bikes that ride really nice. Think about it next time you're shopping for a new bike.

Monday, November 17, 2008

it goes a little something like this...

What's Cranksgiving? - It's a food drive, on bikes, with prizes. Some might call it a race, but you don't have to be a racer to participate (there's two courses - fast/hard, and slow/determined).

When, Where, and How does it happen? - Sunday, November 23rd, 2008. Meet at Bandemer Park at the Main St. entrance (click here for a map) at 3:00 pm. Bring yourself, a bike, some money (to buy food), a lock (for parking outside the grocery stores), and something to carry food in while you're riding.

From the starting point, you'll go to local grocery stores (maps will be provided) and buy non-perishable food items - keeping the receipts to prove you bought them during Cranksgiving. After you've gone to all the stores on your course, you come back to the finish line where you'll drop off the food. Food Gatherers will be collecting and weighing the food, and there will be some post-Cranksgiving warm beverage, and socializing, and awarding of prizes.

Does it cost money? - Yes. But you're not giving the money to me - you're using it to buy food, and that food goes to Food Gatherers, who runs the food bank for Washtenaw County. How much money? - That depends on you - how much you buy/give. I would recommend bringing at least $10. You have to buy something from at least one store, but the prizes are geared towards hauling food, so the more you bring in, the better the winnings. (heh. get it? "geared"?)

Remember though - it's not about throwing money around. It's about how much food. Big cans of tuna, peanut butter, bags of rice, beans - they're nutritious, and cheap, and feed more people. My biggest nightmare is that people come in with 5 single-servings of ramen. My biggest dream is that people do like Adam and Matt and Ben and Natalie did last year, with 5lb bags of rice, 16 lb turkeys, bringing in 18lbs of pasta and peanut butter... that kind of thing.

What's the Course? - There's two: the Super Size course will be long. About 15 miles or so - kind of like last year, but not exactly the same - but probably 5 stores. Appetizer Course will have 3 stores on the route, so shorter.

What is there to win? - Well, everyone wins the satisfaction of knowing that they're helping people in need. But more specifically:
  • Grand Prize: Round-trip airfare for one, anywhere that NorthWest Airlines will take you on 50,000 frequent flyer miles. So there's restrictions based on their policies for "award travel", you know... blackout dates, etc. etc. but as long as you can navigate that, it's off you go.
  • Other Prizes: Merino Jerseys from Swobo, Rims from Velocity, Beer from Arbor Brewing Co. (mug club membership), pads/hats from Yancopads, coffee from Mighty Good Coffee, etc.
What the weather is crappy? - Rain/snow or shine, folks. Hunger knows no season, and neither do we. Wear gloves, dress warm, pedal hard.

Monday, November 10, 2008

so far, so good.

A flyer for the moment. Other sponsors TBA.

I'm still trying to figure out how to give away a plane ticket as a prize. I've got 50,000 frequent flyer miles to give away, which gets you a round-trip in the lower 48 on NorthWest. Should it be the grand prize for the fast ones, or the ones who bring in more food?

other stuff going on

Also happening the weekend of Cranksgiving... a multi-day event in Detroit - 6pm Saturday night for makin' with the tricks and skids, and 8pm Sunday night for the the alleycat and the party with the DJ. Check out Andrew's blog for details.

For the ambitious, do all three - show off your skills on Saturday in Detroit, show off your big heart (and hauling capacity) on Sunday afternoon in Ann Arbor at Cranksgiving, and then head back to The D on Saturday night to how off your speed and style and partyness.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

we now return you...

... to your regularly scheduled race.

OK folks, it's been a little slack over the summer, but now that the Halloween festivities are over, and now that the election is (almost) over, what we have before us is - Cranksgiving. The plan is the same as earlier with two courses to choose from. The date? It's going to be the 23rd. Sunday. Afternoon. Daylight (or as much as we can get).

The good news I got today is that Velocity is chipping in to the prize pool too. How awesome is that? They're here in Michigan, make really sweet stuff, and they're really cool folks. Thanks to MD over in Grand Rapids.

Stay tuned folks, it's shapin' up. I'm getting that tingly Cranksgiving feeling again.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Swobo: supporters extraordinaire

I got a package in the mail today - one that just gives me a solidly warm and fuzzy feeling about bike people out there. Stevil over at Swobo shipped over the beginnings of the prize pool for Cranksgiving Ann Arbor 2008. Stevil, along with being My Favorite Swobo Employee, is the brains and fingers behind How To Avoid The Bummer Life as well.

I hear people talk about "doin' you a solid". I didn't quite know what that meant until now. This guy, half a continent away, who I've never met, is helping out with prizes for a race to benefit a food bank he hadn't heard of before. Maybe it's love for bike people, maybe it's a promotional opportunity, maybe it's a charitable tendency, maybe all of the above. I don't care what you call it. That, my friends, is what I call a standup guy.

So now we've got these sweet 100% Merino jerseys that are 100% ready to be 100% won. 100% Awesome.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

the wheel... she turns.

No, not the bike wheel, but that does too. The wheel of the seasons. The years. The cycles of hoosey-whatsey.

So here we are in 2008, and I'm already having silly ideas about Cranksgiving. You see, it's not just a food drive, it's not just a race, it's an "experience™".

So I'm thinking about how to make it fun for all... We want to bring in lots of food, so that means lots of people, but it needs to cater (heh, get it? "cater") to the varying riding types out there. So in the interest of attracting not only the usual motley bunch of bike fanatics and hammerheads, I'm introducing a new format. Feature. Way of life.

This year, we'll have 2 courses to choose from:
  • Appetizer Course - a modest course with a few checkpoints. Not as long as last year, and I think the prizes will go for amount of food. Maybe a timed, specified grocery load division and un-timed, unlimited weight division. Maybe for furriest bunny suit... something like that. I haven't quite figured how that will work yet, but it'll be good.
  • Super-Size Course will be long and fast. It will be grrr-reat. When Brady, Sean and Dave came blasting into the parking lot last year, they had the finish-line shakes. You know, where you've been pushing the pedals hard enough and long enough that when you stop and try to get the receipts out of your pocket, your hands are shaking too hard to separate them and you can't stop coughing because you've been sucking wind hard for the past hour? That's what I'm talkin' 'bout. Not everyone killed themselves like that, but not everyone came in 7 minutes before the next finisher, either. But the food matters too, so we might up the weight bonus just to keep things interesting...
And so since I'm getting a start on the shenanigans early, I thought I would start planning the prize pool early too. I know, it's early. But I was awestruck when I heard back right away from Stevil Kinevil over at How To Avoid The Bummer Life that they'll chip in to the prize pool. For those that are unfamiliar - Stevil is the biking, beering, blogging, mustached sensation over at Swobo. I was a fan of HTATBL before, but now I see it as what it really is - a Big Heaping Pile of Awesome. Thanks, Swobo.

(On a more somber note: you might have heard in the news - one of the myriad of consequences of the recessi-... er, "economic downturn" is that donations to food banks are way down. Please consider giving in your local neighborhood. If you live in Washtenaw County, that's Foodgatherers. Their annual summer fundraiser where they raise a big chunk of their annual budget, is coming up, so mark your calendars.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sunday Rundown

Sunday happenings happened, and I think it all turned out pretty good. No mechanicals that I heard of, nobody got clipped by a car or anything, nobody wrecked at high speed (the low-speed starting line chaos being fairly normal). Rumors of someone having an asthma attack on the course... hopefully they had their drugs on hand and are ok now? Yeesh, I hope so. (crossing fingers)

Some highlights first:

John at Food Gatherers sent me this summary this morning...
Total weight: 444 lbs.
8 lbs potatoes
5 turkeys totaling 71 lbs
365 lbs dry goods
$47.61 in cash donations

... that's almost a quarter ton, ya know? We had about 42-44 people at the starting line and 34 finishers. 444lbs ÷ 34 = 13.1 lbs per person on average.

Killer. You all kick ass.

So the prizes went a little like this:
- Brady (Points Competition/Fixie) won the Timbuk2 XLarge messenger bag - courtesy of Ann Arbor Cyclery
- Natalie (most extra lbs. hauled - 18!) won the Camelback and $60 service gift certificate - courtesy of Wheels in Motion
- First Finishers in the MTB, Roadie, Out-of-Towner categories were Adam, Dave, and Kevin, and they each got some variety of a medley of travel mug (courtesy of PFC), coffee beans (courtesy of PFC and Whole Foods), socks or T-shirt (courtesy of Two Wheel Tango), water bottles (courtesy of Wheels in Motion), and a few other things I can't remember right now... sorry if I'm a little hazy - it was kind of a blur at that point.
- Ben finished with the biggest (12 lb) turkey, and I can't remember what I gave him for a prize, but hopefully we did right by him.

Big Thanks to Thomas helping out with all kinds of stuff at the finish line. I didn't realize how many little things I needed a hand with until I imagined how I could have done it without the help. He took a bunch of pictures along the way and they're here for the looking.

Some More Big Thanks to Eric for making up the sweet Cranksgiving soup can spoke cards. I totally spaced on that part of the alleycat. When people just do good stuff like that, well... it's pretty frickin' cool. Another reason to like bike people - things they do just because. (feeling silly for not having helped out - next time let me know so I can help out with the laminating and scissoring, eh?)


Sorry about the crappy table formatting (scroll down past the big blank space), but here's the race results from Sunday. Hope everyone had a good time.

Something I forgot to do on Sunday was to put out a sheet so if people want to get emails about other such races/events they could leave their email addresses. If you want to email me (address is under the "about me" link), I'll try to pass the word along. It's usually word of mouth and forwarded emails anyway...

Speaking of news and events and such - check out the Ann Arbor Bike Polo MySpace page ... there might just be some news there about related events, along with the polo part of things.

What's bike polo? It's fun. Try it some time. See the page for news/schedule/whatever.

CategoryNameTimeExtraTurkey lbs.Notes


fixed/SSBrady M.0:004
Points competition winner
fixed/SSSean M.0:11

RoadDave W.0:15

First Roadie
MTBAdam S.7:0513
First MTB
fixed/SSWalter G.8:20

fixed/SSKevin B.10:15

First Out of Towner
fixed/SSEric A.12:302

fixed/SSWill B.15:14

fixed/SSAndrea W.16:002

fixed/SSJimmy S.21:0015

RoadKaren P.24:002

RoadMilo B.24:001

RoadGeorgina H.24:456

RoadJessica B.26:40

RoadJason V.26:40107
RoadLana K.29:20

22# turkey @ the start line!
fixed/SSTrey A.31:00

fixed/SSNatalie H.31:0018
Most total food
MTBTed E.33:15(Footnote #1)

MTBAndy E.33:15

fixed/SSNick T.34:15

fixed/SSJimmy R.34:40

fixed/SSAaron A.34:40

Max E.35:00

fixed/SSIgor B.35:05

RoadBen H.36:001712Biggest turkey
RoadJake N.44:00

RoadJess N.44:45

fixed/SSMatt C.47:00
16Skipped a checkpoint, but damn big turkey
fixed/SSScott S.50:00

MTBAlissa S.50:01

MTBTony F.50:02

Roaddidntgetyourname #1

Roaddidntgetyourname #2

Saturday, November 17, 2007

last-minute hoo-ha

Planning is done, the manifest/map is done. See you tomorrow. Here's the map you're getting - don't worry about printing it though, we'll have copies on hand at the start. It might be raining right now, but should be dry tomorrow.

Friday, November 16, 2007

the prizes...

Another addition to the prize pool today from Wheels In Motion, and it's looking like a pretty good bunch of stuff that people can win. Special Thanks to the businesses supporting Cranksgiving this year:

Ann Arbor Cyclery
People's Food Co-op
Two Wheel Tango
Wheels in Motion
Whole Foods Market

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cranksgiving FAQ

What's Cranksgiving?
A charity race in the form of an Alleycat where the checkpoints are grocery stores. Racers are given a map to the stores and a list of items to choose from to buy. You get a map at the start line. After the ReadySetGO! Ride fastfastfast to the stores, buy the items, keep the receipts, race to the finish line.

When/where is it?
Sunday, Nov 18th. 3pm. Bandemer Park. Check out the flyer.

How long is it?
Depends on your navigational skills. About 15-20 miles, depending on your route. The fastest riders will finish it in about 60 minutes, but there'll be enough time to finish while there's still daylight even if it takes twice as long.

Wait... I need to bring/spend money?
Yes, it's a charity event. *Giving*... important enough to be part of the title. There's 6 checkpoints or so, and the items on the list are $1-3 each. Racers have the option to choose what they want to give, but have to visit each store. Plan to bring at least $10-15, and if it's in singles it'll probably get you through the checkout lane quicker (it's sort of a race, ya know?).

Who's getting the the food?
Food Gatherers. They'll be picking up the food at the finish line and it'll go into their warehouse/distribution - community kitchen, needy families, etc.

What if it's really cold that day?
Bundle up. Might be chilly-ish, but forecast is for slightly sunny/cloudy, but no rain. Regardless, Cranksgiving is going to happen, rain, shine, snow, swarm of locusts... and if you ride hard, you'll be self-warming anyway, right?

Are there prizes?
Yup. Lots of giveaways in different categories, but also working on something extra-cool for the Cranksgiving Alleycat over-acheivers. Remember, the name of the game here is food-raising, on a bike, and extra-quick - so more food faster means better shinier prize.

I'm not a bike racer - why should I even show up?
It's not about the fastest person. The point is the food drive. Sure, there'll be prizes for "fastest ___", but there's prizes in other categories too. There'll be a time bonus for extra food brought, so even if you're not the first across the finish line, you could still beat out the fast riders on points alone. Besides, while there will be plenty of fast boys and girls on skinny-tire mean machines, there's some "navigational opportunities" for those with robust wheels to take shortcuts over chunky "roads" that will cut a couple miles off the route.

What kind of bike is appropriate for this?
All of 'em. Everyone and everybike welcome. If it matters to you, the route is on streets/paths/sidewalks and not grass (unless you really want to), so keep that in mind.

What if I'm coming from out of town?
Well... you rock. We're glad you're coming out and will be glad to see you. Since we're thinking of you, the course has a start/finish at the same park, so if you're coming a long distance, you won't have to search for your car afterwards. And there might just be a prize for "first out-of-towner across the finish line" too.

Speaking of afterwards... so what happens at the finish line? Well, we wouldn't leave you hanging, that wouldn't be very nice. You get to the finish with your goods, drop them off, potentially win a prize, hang out, socialize, story-swap "I caught a turkey this big", hang around a fire to warm the outsides, have a warm beverage to warm the insides...

Dude - don't you know it's 'cross season? Is this going to be a UCI/USAC sanctioned race?
Uhh........ no. Heck no. But yes, we're aware that there's a cyclocross race on the 18th. You 'crossers should come anyway afterwards to show how fast you are when there's no grass or mud involved. Besides, all the races at Munson Park on Sunday will be over by 1:00 (ok, maybe not the podium photo-op after the Men's 1/2 race, but whatever). We'll set up some barriers and a run-up or two for the cyclocross devotees if they simply can't live without them - let us know if that's the case. Everyone else can ride the regular course though.

more prizes to tease with...

The prize pool is getting better, with donations from the folks at Whole Foods (thanks Susan) and at Ann Arbor Cyclery (tip o' the helmet to Jon and Jimmy), so we'll have plenty of categories for prizes, and some to raffle off regardless of how quickly you get to the finish line or how much food you carry.

Monday, November 12, 2007


The prize list isn't complete (oh no, not by a long shot) but I thought I'd throw out as a teaser that we've got swag and prizes generously donated from Kevin at People's Food Coop and Dennis over at Two Wheel Tango so far, and some "we'll be happy to chip in something" committments from other folks - I just need to get emails to them making a formal request.

Still trying to figure out what the mega-prize will be, and which category it'll be for (largest frozen turkey bought, most weight of food bought, ???) but rest assured, while it won't be a 2008 Carbon Record Campagnolo Road Gruppo, it'll still be something nice.

In the meantime, the weather forecast from 6 days out looks like it'll be dry and cool, so be sure to bring gloves (but you can probably leave the fenders at home).

flyer details

We've got a flyer now, as you can see, so if you're in a posting mood, feel free to snag it and repost it (online or otherwise). I'm probably not giving away too much by saying that the finish line will be in the same park as the starting line...

Bandemer Park is on Main St. near M14. South of the Lotus building, north of the ArtTrain rail platform, turn off Main St. and cross the tracks towards the river. Unfortunately, there's only a tiny little brown sign marking the Main St. entrance, but it's there.

View Larger Map

Friday, November 9, 2007

Cranksgiving Happenings

Howdy all... If you're here, you've probably heard - Cranksgiving Ann Arbor is happening. An alleycat race to benefit Food Gatherers will be happening the afternoon of Sunday, Nov 18.

It's coming together quickly, and it's only a week and a little bit away, but more details will be posted reallyreally soon. (I promise) The general details:

  • Cranksgiving-style alleycat charity/benefit race.
  • 5-10 checkpoints at grocery stores where you buy a food item ($1-3), keep the receipt, and carry it/them with you on the bike.
  • Prizes (not just for the one fastest person... categories, bonuses, all sorts of stuff so it's fun and rewarding for everyone)
  • At the finish line, drop food at the Food Gatherers van (Thanks John and Missy!), have a bonfire, hang out... let the hijinks, race stories, and trash-talkin' commence.
  • Length: 60-90 minutes of riding, depending on how fast you ride. ;) Within Ann Arbor, but the route will include stores all over the city.
all for now... more details soon.