Monster Track 2012 took place in NYC on Saturday afternoon, as over 100 brakeless track bike racers took to the dangerous streets of New York to compete for the title of Monster Track XIII champ.
For those not familiar with messenger/track bike scene, Monster Track is the most prestigious of messenger alley cats in the world. An alley cat is basically a totally illegal, unsanctioned bicycle race, unique to the messenger community. In an alley cat, racers have the task of navigating the city in the same way that a messenger does. There is no specific “race route” racers are given a manifest with checkpoints, and are required to get signatures at each checkpoint the same as a messenger during his or her workday. The object is to finish the manifest first, the route is up to the individual, and if you happen to get ahold of a bus and skitch for 20 blocks, it’s all good.
Monster Track is unique in that it is strictly a track bike race and no brakes are allowed. As the whole fixed gear subculture has exploded into the mainstream so has Monster Track. No other race has the same cache, if you win you are the king. The roots of the race are messenger based, it began in 2000 when the top messengers in the city decided to hold a special track bike only race. The track bike is favored by many messengers because of the light weight, nimbleness, and low maintenance. The beginnings of Monster Track were humble with only messengers participating, today it is a international event with racers from all over the world gunning for the crown. The majority of the participants now are no longer messengers as the popularity of track bikes has grown.
The event has morphed into not just a race, but a celebration of messenger culture. Things kicked off on Thursday evening with a rather serious panel discussion on the evolution of the culture featuring Author/New York’s fastest foot messenger Kurt Boone and two founders of the race, NYC messengers Victor Ouma and J.C. Ramirez. The focus was on the pros and cons of the growth of fixed gear riding as related to messengers. After the panel was a party, Friday there was a party, after the race was also a party and Sunday just one more party. Messengers work hard and like to party a little bit. Tuff City Styles was one of the sponsors of the race, and NYC O.G. Messenger and graff head Stone Tone held down the checkpoint at the Tuff City LES location. The finish line would be at LES Track bike boutique Chari & Co. The grueling 30 mile race was eventually won by NYC’s own, and friend of 12ozProphet, JT. Alfred 2nd, Chas 3rd, last years winner Crihs was 4th, Eric 5th and Heather won on the girl’s side.
Text and Photo: L. Swann
And check out this video we found of the start of the race, to give you an idea…