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Annual Weirdness At ‘Stupor Bowl’ Alleycat Bike Race

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Speed category race winner Sam Berkland gets an early lead in the “Le Mans” start; All Photos © Bjorn Christianson

An annual tradition that exemplifies the hardiness (and weirdness) of both Minnesotans and the greater international bicycle-messenger community, Stupor Bowl returned to the streets of Minneapolis (and briefly St. Paul) last weekend.

Start line on banks of the Mississippi River near downtown Minneapolis

What started as a local bragging-rights race in 1998, Stupor Bowl requires riders to pedal between a dozen checkpoints spread over 35 miles, collecting stamps, and possibly consuming an adult beverage along the way.

Race organizers David and Drew give final instructions

Among the largest events of its type, 300+ racers and dozens of volunteers travelled from across town and around the world to participate in this year’s Stupor Bowl XVIII.

Run! Get to your bike, the race is on…

First place out-of-towner ‘Crihs’ (from San Francisco) gains on local Jeff Frane

Racers stream out from the start

Race manifest

Snow-less January field (rare for this race)

Up the riverbank, toward the city streets

Max Dingemans leaving Behind Bars Bicycle Shop in Northeast MPLS

City maps and track bikes

Nikki Munvez finished the race while simultaneously working a delivery shift for Taco Cat, a local food-by-bike service

Stupor Bowl and alleycat vet Jana Velo on her way to 3rd place in the women’s speed competition

Race steed

Alleycat characters “Dominican Crihs,” Ben Lagerquist (1st place “stupor” category), and Chelsea Strate (1st place women’s speed category)

Rolling out…

Plotting a course

A stamp to prove you were there

Lock’ em up at the end

Competitors, including first-place (and only?) tandem riders Melanie and James

Bike shop checkpoint

Suited up, ready to ride

Shotgun challenge

Warm up!

Alleycat regulars Peter Lenz, Trisha Groth, and Alex Anderson

Bjorn Christianson is a Minneapolis photographer and cyclist.

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